About Me

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"Cinch by the inch, hard by the yard"

One of the attendees in my "Brain Jogging" presentation last December used the above slogan when I said that memorization is easier if the task is broken or distributed into smaller parts.

For example, rather than memorize the names of all the Presidents today, all I need to do is memorize one today and do it thoroughly. So, I repeat to myself a few times, during a time span of about 20 seconds in order to help my working memory, that John Adams was the second President of the United States of America. During twenty seconds, I can say "John Adams was the second President of America" at least six times. It turns out that this allows for effective reinforcement so that I can remember this fact later in the day.

Through this concentration on one fact, I can overlearn this one fact today. And tomorrow, I can overlearn the next fact that is important to me. As I develop a practice of overlearning one fact each day, I develop a practice that is useful for remembering an appointment or a task until I get an opportunity to put it on my calendar or to-do list.

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