Table of contents:
- Attack on the brain
- Bag Soup
- No time to think
- We are not Caesars
- How to survive the flood
- EXPERT OPINION
Video: Lost Memory - The Quality Of Life
As you know, there are two types of memory - episodic and semantic. Episodic memory is the memory of events that happened in our life; what we saw or participated in. Semantic memory is the totality of what we know about the world. And if nothing threatens the first, we are losing the second at an alarming rate.
Is semantic memory important in our life? If previously the possession of encyclopedic knowledge was considered a great virtue, now we have Google, which means that you can no longer worry about this. Many young people do not see the need to keep a lot of facts in their head if their smartphone is always at hand. However, there are quite objective reasons for the extinction of semantic memory in the modern world.
Attack on the brain
The most obvious of these is the gigantic amount of information that surrounds us. We are bombarded from all sides with kilobytes of various data - I'm now talking not only about the Internet, where “digital natives” spend a significant part of the day, but also about the TV in the kitchen, the radio in the minibus, the advertising recitative in the supermarket and the catchy messages from billboards and lightboxes. We have almost learned not to let all these things into consciousness, but the work on perception and deciphering is still underway, even if we do not notice it. And it requires resources.
In a curious experiment at the University of Michigan Center for Research, Learning and Teaching, * a link was found between the number of hyperlinks in a text and the level of comprehension. It turned out that the more links, the worse the subjects were able to retell the text or answer questions about the content. Each hyperlink is a question "Open or not?", And regardless of what you answered to this question, it has already selected a part of the mental resource that was needed for understanding.
Outside the laboratory, it is very difficult for us to notice this, because each of the effects is very small, but in total the effect is tangible. It's like with old windows - each individual gap is not that big, but together they provide a huge loss of heat. Therefore, the best thing you can do for your memory is to limit the flow of incoming data to what is really valuable to you, and focus on that.
In addition to the problem of the amount of information, there are questions about its quality. In the battle for the time of eternally busy people, information is crushed ever smaller and smaller, because everything that takes more than five minutes to read will most likely be postponed until better days (which never come) or simply missed.
Fragmented, the messages inevitably become superficial (what question can be deeply revealed in two or three minutes?); details and nuances are lost. Gradually "draining the water", we switched from nutritious chicken soup to a diet of bouillon cubes.
No time to think
Another problem is pace. The more time you spend thinking about information, the more likely you are to remember it. And this is very difficult to do when pieces of information collapse one after another.
Do you know the story about the famous physicist Ernest Rutherford, who came to his laboratory early in the morning and found his student there? "What are you doing here so early?" - he asked. "I'm working." - "What are you doing then during the day?" - "I'm working." - "And in the evening?" “I work too,” the student replied. "Tell me, when do you think?" - Rutherford was indignant. So it is with us - we absorb information all the time, and we have almost no time left to process it. But memory is a consequence of active interaction with information, deliberation, building connections with what is already known. We do not have time to do this. Almost immediately, the next block of information displaces the previous one from the working memory - only in order to be displaced by the next one in a couple of minutes.
But even if we gave ourselves enough time to learn, it wouldn't help either. It may be that the effort expended in tying together small, scattered pieces of information will outweigh the benefits gained from it. It is similar to negative calorie foods - tired chewing, not full. So read books. Long, connected books. And set aside special time for this - after all, multitasking and constant distractions are two other things that do not contribute to the normal functioning of your memory.
We are not Caesars
Multitasking is a myth. What seems to us to be the parallel execution of two tasks, in fact, is a very fast switching of attention between them. Sometimes it happens so quickly that we ourselves do not notice it, but, as in the experiment with hyperlinks, it affects the quality of tasks.
Tasks brought to automatism require a minimum of attention, which is why we can talk on the go (but we still run the risk of hanging out and turning in the wrong place). But the more attention a specific task requires, the more it suffers from the "parallel" process. Moreover, if you solve two tasks at the same time, then the quality of each one drops several times. Because the very act of switching attention from one task to another also requires resources and time.
Concentration is the ability to keep exactly what you need in your working memory. To fully immerse ourselves in the task (fill the working memory with the necessary information), we need a few minutes. If something (a "parallel" task or a colleague's question) distracted you, then part of your working memory was filled with new information, which now needs to be unloaded in order to return to what you were doing. If this happens quite often (in an open space office it can happen once every few minutes, and with "multitasking" - several times a minute), then you never work at the maximum efficiency level.
Moreover, as the French researcher of memory Daniel Lapp wrote, "where attention is, there is memory." If our attention at any given moment is spread over half a dozen different activities, it is not surprising that none of these activities linger in our memory.
How to survive the flood
And one more thing that is necessary for normal memory functioning is healthy sleep. In a culture in which chronic sleep deprivation is normal, good memory becomes rare. Eight to eight and a half hours of sleep is considered healthy. In addition, not all the time we spend in bed we sleep. For example, falling asleep should normally take about twenty minutes. If you pass out just by touching your pillow, you are likely to have chronic sleep deprivation. So if you set the alarm at seven, then it makes sense to turn off the light at ten. Do you know many people who do this?
“We are drowning in information, but we are thirsty for knowledge,” wrote John Naisbitt many years ago, and since then his statement has only become more relevant. And it looks like there is every chance that our semantic memory may not survive this flood.
On the brain they meet
I would like to note the incredible neuroplasticity of the brain in children. The ability of their brains to compensate for individual mental functions allows pediatric neuropsychologists to successfully correct young patients with a wide variety of disabilities. These are issues of poor school performance, and speech problems, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and cerebral palsy. But all the same plasticity of the brain gives neuropsychologists the opportunity to study disorders of mental processes and conditions in elderly patients. For example, in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, dyscirculatory encephalopathy, and others.allowing to carry out professional selection and career guidance, taking into account the peculiarities of the brain organization of human mental processes.
candidate of psychological sciences