Sunday, February 14, 2021

More on the Memory Trick

A few postings ago, I offered a tip for adding extra slots to your short term memory. Someone sent me an email asking why I'd described this as a matter of perceptual framing.

The trick, once again, was to memorize only what you can comfortably memorize, and no more. Beyond that limit, just casually look, glance, peer at more data, and you'll find that it will persist; retained via the visual channel, completely outside your limited memorization process.

Once you've memorized all you can memorize the usual way, as you look/glance/peer at additional data you are imperiling the previously stored data. If you don't proceed per my directions - if you view the additional material with even a faint effort to memorize - you'll knock loose the contents of your memory. Instead of implanting in your visual buffer, it will barge destructively into your fully-loaded memory buffer.

So the trick only works if you frame in a very specific way. "I'm glancing at data, but don't care at all if I remember it or not. No memorizing going on here! Just looking, please, ma'am, thanks!" You're a disinterested looky-loo, absolutely not memorizing...though that actually is the objective. Think of it as a benign self-deception.

If you slip out of that framing and make the slightest effort to memorize the additional material, the jenga tower will likely collapse, leaving you with shards of broken memories.

Reframing allows you to enter data into a fresh additional channel, like finding extra space on a different hard drive.

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