The Creating of The Mind & Processes of The Memory- Cognitive Memory Training
The most interesting and common-sense evidence speaking for memory is the creation of memory and its processes. Simonides approach to loci is deeply creative: It’s enough to have some basic understanding of the processes of mind structures to understand why memory works the way it does, and why Mnemonics is the ultimate solution to the problem of forgetting. The nervous system has been the creation or invention that introduced central control in, otherwise, homeostatically controlled organisms.
It was like introducing a global communist government in universitycafe a conglomerate of countries and federations, i.e. cells and organs, governed by purely a free market of enzymes, free-flowing metabolites and hormones. In its introduction of communism, the memory was smarter than the other parts of humans in this sense that the communist practices were introduced not outright, but in proportion to available means. The developing nervous system, in the successive stages of the memory creation, took over an increasing control over the organism in tandem with the increasing complexity of its neural structure. The culmination of this process was the human brain. The greatest creator of our neural civilization, not only for the successful introduction of neural communism, the mind can be viewed as an incredibly smart designer which would not miss an opportunity for improvement.
Though its processes are dead slow we think sometimes and purely random, what could not be accomplished by guided progress has been accomplished by the power of neural construction that has passed since the appearance of the first living cell. The infallibility of the mind creation in the range of what can be accomplished by living matter based on DNA and proteins can be a very useful guidance in understanding neurophysiology and human psychology; including the processes of memory. Optimization of the processes involved in memory has been based on fine-tuning the regulatory properties of metabolic processing, and to a degree, electrochemical processes occurring in the synapse. It did not need the involvement of new organs, nor even cells. Therefore unlike the invention of flight, which has been worked out by the creation of the airplane more than once, optimization of memory can be compared to tuning up a radio receiver as opposed to constructing it from scratch (as in the case of developing wings and the ability to fly). It is not difficult to notice that the memory processes have been very much conserved in the course of creation. After all, famous American neuroscientist Dr Eric Kandel spent a few decades studying the primitive nervous system of a mollusk Aplysia caliphornica (just a couple of nerve cells making up the entire system). Kandel’s involvement with Aplysia did not prevent him from drawing far-reaching conclusions concerning the processes of memory in humans.
Similarly, one of the most important discoveries in the molecular research on memory in the last two decades is the involvement of the membrane protein kinase C in conditioning. It has first been spotted in a marine snail Hermissenda. In other words, creation of memory did not take long to figure out the best properties of memory, which, according to some of our neuroscientist, are as widespread in the nervous system as the citric acid cycle in the organism. In the next section, we will have a look at most properties of memory and their relationship with the mind. If indeed creation is infallible, the mind makes the best use of most memory properties. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention here that the Univ. of Texas in Houston and The Univ. of Houston have made real strides in a new transformational growth factor B that taking the protein Kinase C and just the right environment the memory traces helped by TFGB and its congealing properties will produce a closer to near perfect memory trace. If a synthetic TFGB can be produced it will be substantial in fighting Alzheimer’s and other maladies such as Parkinson, ALS and other disease we are now experiencing some which are on a rise.
Is it the Optimization in Our Minds of Forgetting or Remembering?
Let us have a more detailed look why, according to our mind, memory and forgetting work the way that makes living possible. To think about the brain like a computer is a very useful metaphor. Everyone who has some basic understanding of computation will know that no computer can solve problems without memory. Memory is needed to keep the record of the computation; however, it can also be used to keep a modifiable program. After all the power of computers rests in their programmability. Human beings, more or less consciously, program their brains using the so-called long-term memory, i.e. memory which lasts for months and years. However, they can also use short-term memory, different in its physiological nature, to keep the record of the computation, or thinking, which leads to the solution, response, reflex, etc. Short- term memory, apart from its short-term functions, also serves as the framework for establishing long-term memories.
One of the first questions the user of a PC asks is how much RAM does a computer have? The same question was asked by the mind in reference to the brain. Human RAM is enormous in its capacity. Some researchers estimate its size at mid-point of life to be the equivalent of 10 to the power of 9. However, memory is unlimited, and a living organism can attempt storing all incoming information. In a computer a very substantial selection has to be made if the storage capacity is not to overflow in a life-time. Our brains or minds do not have such a limitation. It appears that the solution is forgetting. Let the brain filter the incoming messages and store as much as it is only possible in the long-term memory. Then let forgetting do the rest of the job by eliminating pieces of information in the order of least relevance.
An important question that had to be answered by the mind was in what order should pieces of information be forgotten so that to maximize the survival or knowledge acquisition rate. It is obvious, at least for those who understand the concept of probability in an incompletely specified event space, that encountering an average event increases the probability of the same event being encountered again. For example, if you do not know Mr. X and you meet him on the street today, the probability that you meet him again tomorrow must be considered greater than from before the first meeting. Naturally, if you meet him again, you have yet more reasons to believe in more meetings in the future. In other words, successive repetitions should have an increasing stimulatory effect on memory. Unfortunately, mind proceeded mostly in the absence of volitional aspects of the human brain; hence, we do not have the capability to forget at will. We cannot decide to free memory by forgetting Mr. X on hearing the news that he has died or moved away to the North Slope in Alaska.
Is it helpful to have a “Spacing effect” or spaced learning?
The little problem remains of how the brain can prevent events that are not likely to be encountered in the future from being permanently transferred to memory as a result of a great number of repetitions? The answer was found in applying the so-called spacing effect, which says that the longer the interval between repetitions, the better the memory effect. This way a large number of repetitions in short intervals have very little impact on memory. Simply speaking, memory uses the spacing effect and the principle of increasing intervals to most effectively fix relevant information in the brain. I should also say here that the putamen also has the same concept for procedural memory or memory in muscles etc. Upon encountering an event it is temporarily transferred to long-term memory and forgotten in the matter of days. However, if the event is reencountered, the memory assumes increased probability of the event in the future and increases the retention period. Initially, in the retention period, memory is not sensitive to more encounters of the same event. Only at later stages does memory become sensitive again and a new encounter will act as a repetition that will increase the retention period and make memory temporarily insensitive to further encounters.
If anybody doubts the importance of the spacing effect, think of how the mind must consider the following example: Could the reader provide the name of the infamous lady that alleged having slept with the majority of Polish parliamentarians? If the reaction is: Sure, yes, wait a second, I am sure I remember it but… aha! Then this can be taken as an example of spacing effect. Despite the fact that the lady did dominate Polish political life for a short period of time, many of us might find it hard to recall her name. The reason is simple; hundreds of repetitions concerning the name of the lady were cramped in a very short period of time. Because of the spacing effect, memory reacted to the phenomenon more like to a single repetition rather than a volley of memory stimulations. The biological value of such a property of the brain may be explained by the fact that events occurring densely in a short period of time may be unworthy of the precious memory storage. Otherwise, a great number of repetitions in a week could leave a useless memory trace for lifetime. Do we really need to remember the name of the promiscuous lady? We don’t… unless we are members of Polish parliament at breeding age, naturally.
Using again the computer metaphor, the problem of choosing the least relevant pieces of knowledge in the process of forgetting is analogous to the problem of paging in virtual memory. In paging, the question is which memory blocks should be discarded to maximize the probability that the next memory reference will concern a block that is already placed in memory. Unlike in operating systems, the LRU (Least Recently Used) would not work fine for human memory. If LRU were used, first to forget then it would become like the rusty primitives mastered in the primary school. It would be enough to use a calculator for a few months to have all the multiplication table discarded in priority behind the morning breakfast. The grandmother that has passed away a decade ago would serve as another early victim. Definitely, LRU would deprive the brain of flexibility and us… of humanity.
Human Memory Correlated To Computer Memory in Operating Systems.
The question arises immediately: If the mechanical optimization of the memory storage could be as efficient as in the case of humans, why don’t developers of operating systems assign memory attributes to blocks of memory, and use increasing-intervals combined with the spacing effect in developing, say, the next version of Windows or apples operating system. The key to the answer is in one major difference between the brain and the operating system of a computer: memory blocks can be reloaded from the disk in a wink which is not true with forgotten memories. You will not see a student at an exam say to the examiner: Wait a second, I have just forgotten it, and must reload it from my slow external storage. Obviously, a crutch, or any kind of external reference or cheat sheet can serve as a smart crutch for those who do not wish to burden their mind with the effort of remembering. Sadly, in the dog-eat-dog pace of our civilization, the LRU approach becomes more and more often applied in humans. Crutches help systems and encyclopedias play a greater role than the memory training. The poor record of American graduates in verbal, analytical and logical tests as compared with Chinese, Koreans, or even students coming from Eastern Europe is a sad side effect of a dynamic capitalist economy promoting the shallow LRU education and a race to early accomplishment at any price. Does this LRU trend bode ill for mind? No, individuals and governments have long realized the importance of education targeted at areas of lifelong applicability to a modern man.
The pressure of the urgent is considered a negative factor not only in education. Even in business! Get into the office of a modern businessman, arguably the primary candidate for stress-related heart disorders (consequence of LRU thinking and prioritizing), and increasingly often you will find in broad display famous tools targeted on fighting urgency. To ground the belief in the new trends even deeper, it is worth noticing that businesspeople are indeed one of the major customer groups of mind and memory creation world. Or what I like to call the empowering of mental efficiency through Mnemonic tool training, or Cognitive Memory Training.
Recall Ability and Stability of Memory.
The expert memory trainers arrived at the point where the creation of mind interpretation of memory indicates that it works using the principles of increasing intervals or what they have coined priming and rapid cognition and the spacing effect. Is there any proof for this model of memory apart from the memory construction speculation? In MTI’s construction model of memory discussed widely in public memory training workshop, or in-house programs, molecular aspects of memory is presented in the process of learning. The novel element presented in this thesis or theory is the distinction between the stability and recall ability of memory traces. This could not be used to support the validity of creation of mind because of the simple fact that it was the mind itself that laid the groundwork for the hypothesis. However, an increasing molecular evidence seems to coincide with the stability-recall ability model providing, at the same time, support for the correctness of assumptions leading to mind creation. In plain terms, recall ability is a property of memory which determines the level of efficiency with which synapses can fire in response to the stimulus, and thus elicit the learned action. The lower the recall ability the less you are likely to recall the correct response to a question. On the other hand, stability reflects the history of earlier repetitions or visual bonding to the mental file folder, and determines the extent of time in which memory traces can be sustained. The higher the stability of memory, the longer it will take for the recall ability to drop to the zero level, i.e. to the level where memories are permanently lost.