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Training Our Memory Using the Experiential Method Not Rote Memorization
Over the past nineteen years I have conducted formalized mnemonic memory training of engineers, NASA scientists, analysts, sales and marketing specialists, doctors, dentists, CEOs and other students. The training method we now use in the memory training workshop is delivered over two days, two 3-1/2 hour sessions. The method we use is experiential and demonstratively more effective than the old rote memorization methods.
We are light years behind in the understanding of the brain due to the complexities of this wonderful organ. But on the other hand we are light years ahead in brain research and documented findings. Counterintuitive jar bal is not what I hope to sift out in this article, but a good mind vacuuming of useable collaboration may help in today’s think tank. I say this with hopes of creating a true stimulus package not sanctioned, originated or owned by our current governing bodies. Some times the worker bee is more reflective of theory and practicality out of mere experiential exposure than the expert. I see this happen many times by accident.
Taking this into consideration I try to keep abreast of current studies on learning and teaching modalities and thread their outcomes into our experiential training approach. In line with that I constantly try to measure the effectiveness of the results. We are passionate in the motivation of others to achieve their individuality of memory styles. We do this based on their, what I will call their fist or inventory, of their biased, unbiased, moral or immoral picture vocabularies. They use these experiences or various cultures to remember new data on a daily basis.
I simply believe every one of us has our own unique picture vocabulary. Picture vocabularies gathered throughout the ages, however old they are, lying dormant many times waiting to be repositioned from negative status to positive position. We use these picture vocabularies in our day to day activities as well as our future learning environments. I also believe through positive and proactive placements we can greatly improve our fluid intelligence or working memories. I believe our brain with its growing nature will be able to better serve us if we learn how to train it and use it more efficiently. What we now know of the brains functionality, discovered by all of the scientific testing, measuring devices and observations, we can now prime it to be more effective consciously. I can’t even fathom or imagine what levels GOD has built for our use of it and it sometimes boggles the mind.
I do wish many of you were in our position to see the blessings of the dedicated individuals looking day to day to improve their lifestyles and daily steps to be more proactive when it comes to remembering. I always reflect back on an article in USA today showing how much time a person spends in their life looking for lost, misplaced or hidden items. The result was that each of us spends one complete year of our life a 365 day, 24 hour day year, looking for lost hidden or misplaced items. That fact is sobering when you actually wrap your mind around what it means to each of us. That very fact is why we have have folded experiential training methods into the formalized memory training we teach in our workshops.
We truly see how the mindfulness based stress reducing techniques taught in our workshops are helping individuals achieve 500 to a 1000 percent increase in memory ability. This increase is actually realized in a relatively short period of time. We test our students in the first hour to achieve a baseline starting point of where they are when they start and then teach them for one hour using our techniques. We use conscious and subconscious training methods to teach them the first generation of mnemonics. We do this to show them how even the basic association method can improve their ability in such a short period of an hour. If you could see the facial expressions of individuals of all ages and walks of life how they light up when they realize how quickly their mind can improve. They immediately feel if they would have had formalized mnemonic training in school they too could have competed for the valedictorian position in their schools.
I actually feel if I would have learned the system in school instead the way I was taught 19 years ago I could have been a brain surgeon, except for the fact I probably would faint at the sight of my own blood. On a more serious note I could have learned and recalled the 12 cranial nerves faster having had this tool in college. We have thousands of testimonials of the results of the workshops after our students complete the 7 hours of training. I can only imagine where it has taken them to by now and the successes they have had. I am talking about testimonials on personal and company letterheads from the majority of those before mentioned students of memory. I should also say students of all ages from 10 years old to my oldest student a young lady 87 years young. I tell you how active she this 87 year old was she was still taking night classes at the University of Houston with her daughter. She came up to me when the two day seven hour workshop was over and said she wished that she had acquired the memory training 67 years ago. I still remember her charming and endearing face today.
You see the problem is back in the late 60’s early 70’s- achieve, compete and high testing results were the main drive to elevate your position in life. I feel many times we were taught through intimidation instead of affirmation. The toxic environments of corporate, college, and social norms abused us both mentally and physically to not take our body’s seriously and the stress level of the fight or flight syndrome could have been alleviated. The technology of our ability to change our Autonomic Nervous System status was not documented to reduce the stress levels, blood pressure etc. The questions we need to ask ourselves today is are we happy in our 40 hour a week job and do we have a good happy family life for the proper social and emotional connectedness we deserve.
One of my favorite stories is of the brother of one of Zig Ziglars employees that told me her sibling suffered from ADHD and after her having attended the workshop herself she believed he would benefit from the training as well. She told me he was so heavily medicated on Ritalin that he swayed while standing. She also mentioned he was struggling trying to finish college and this may help to finally achieve his goals.
He did come and I knew of his condition and watched him throughout the program. We do a mock cocktail party over the last hour of our workshop (no alcohol) but we use our 6 step process for remembering names to practice in a role play. They are instructed to use the techniques they learned to introduce themselves to other workshop attendees and then review. After about 10 to 15 minutes they sit down and we ask for a couple of volunteers to see how many first and second names of individuals they met using the six step pattern for name retention. The young man I am speaking of stood up and volunteered. I was first reluctant to allow him in fear of his ADHD stressing him with possible embarrassment but then allowed it. I still get goose bumps telling it. I asked all that had met him to stand up and as he remembered their name first name worth 1/2 of a point and or last name the same to then be seated. If you get both names you get one full point. To my surprise 26 people arose and he started firing off first and second names and as they were called they sat down. After completing successfully I should add. He then proceeded to tell the 100 plus audience in that night session that he was ADHD heavily medicated and I knew about it because his sister had set the workshop up for him. He said that for the first time in his life he felt like he could remember things. He also mentioned that he had been struggling to finish college and now felt like he would be finishing faster. You know the exciting thing wasn’t just that he went through the announcement of that story, or that he had remembered 26 names. The most exciting thing was that he had actually remembered 52 names because he remembered first and last names and I saw a glow of self confidence he probably had not felt in a long time! It was a blessing to be there and to know he did it all himself.
Now why do I feel it is so successful? I will tell you as best I can but without you actually experiencing it yourself it will probably seem impossible. We will personally send copies to anyone who would like to read any of those testimonials to show how achievable it really is. We see the results in the first hour of our workshop. We start with a test of 20 item list having to be recalled after we give it to them. The audience or attendees are not allowed to take notes or write anything down. We actually give them the 20 items in 2 second intervals, then test their results and log it in. We show the counts or test results to them in the workshop immediately. We then teach them the first generation of mnemonics basic association for one hour then test them again. The final startling outcome gives self confidence resulting in the majority getting 6, 7 items right on the first test and 19, to 20 right on the second test. It’s like putting them under laughing gas they are ecstatic with their results. Then we tell them they will never use basic association again because it’s just not very effective and it doesn’t transfer new learned information from the short term memory to the long term memory. They are simply put astonished and then the learning begins. Their teach ability index soars.
I promise you it’s like watching 80-150 people in the audience realizing for the first time in their life they can learn. It’s nothing short of a miracle I promise you and it’s like a shot of adrenaline for our instructors and me. Now I know you ask why and how does it work. First let me explain I am dyslexic and being a psychologist I know I meet the criteria for ADHD and probably should be medicated. I was to old to be tested so here I am. Seriously though back in those days they didn’t even have testing. The reason it works is because we all have the ability to have a trained memory lying dormant in our mind and it’s just a matter of turning the switch on. That switch we turn on is used for the best computer that’s ever been developed or ever will be built and God gave it to you it’s your brain! You just weren’t taught the software program effectively enough. There is where we help them to learn the software program.
Now I am going to give you my theory of memory and why I believe formalized mnemonic training will forever be the new way of learning in schools in the near future. It may be a bit over the top but if you can decipher it you will have the truth of memory as I see it.
My Theory of Our Memory-Harold Mangum
People do not live in the objective world alone, or in a world of social activity as we ordinarily understand it. We are at the mercy of the picture language which has become the medium of expression or communication of our immediate society. It is an illusion to think that one learns, adjust to reality or perception of our surroundings, based without the use of our picture vocabulary. That picture vocabulary is merely an incidental means of solving specific problems of memory or reflection. The real fact of the matter is the” real world” to a large extent is built on the unconscious picture vocabulary habits of the society or group we live in. No two picture vocabularies are ever sufficiently similar to be considered representative of the same social reality. The worlds in which the different picture vocabulary worlds live in are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached. We see, hear and remember and otherwise experience as we do because the memory habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation.
We dissect our learning life based on premises laid down by our native memories we have built. The memory traces and recalls that we isolate from the world of phenomena are not there because they stare every recollect in the face; on the contrary our memory world is presented in a kaleidoscopic flux of impressions. Impressions, which has to be organized by our minds-and this means largely by the picture vocabulary systems of our minds. We cut nature up, organize it into concepts and assign significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way. – An agreement that holds throughout our memory community and is codified in the patterns of our memory. The agreement is, of course, an implicit and unstated one but its terms are absolutely obligatory. We cannot talk at all except by subscribing to the organization and classification of memory which the mind decrees. The adaptive unconscious or lock box of our mind, the one which we cannot explain how it got there or even how it checks our bias or prejudice is individual to each of us.
So the real world is to a large extent built upon the memory habits of the group. We see, hear and otherwise experience very largely as we do because the memory habits of our community predispose certain choices of interpretation. The memory worlds in which our societies live are distinct memory worlds, not merely the same world with different labels attached to it. – H.M.
So again, I leave you with this reiteration, don’t use some one else’s memories, memory switches brands or picture vocabularies. Use the memory predispositions’ you now have, laid down by your maker. The predispositions I speak of are those that you have worked so hard to create and continue to work hard daily to create. You do this in the journey to turn your memory switches to the positive position! When I say positive position I mean the process we all go through of priming our minds to position our learning ability from passive to proactive.
When we go through mindfulness based stress reducing methods of focused learning we then move what we now know as our memories, picture vocabularies or memory switches to a compartmentalized inventory. An inventory primed to be recalled by the cues we organized them with. The encoding specificity principle we teach states that through experiential learning stimuli can retrieve a memory as long as the stimuli is coded with a cue. The cue actually retrieves the memory.
By doing the skill experimentally instead of reading or seeing it you then structure your memory by laying it down with all of your abilities to remember. These abilities are sensory perceptions, of sight, touch, taste, smell, hearing, emotion, with the added implicit memories in our locked box of unconsciousness. We experientially create our new found memories store them and prepare them for ease of retrieval. We do this by teaching our students using analogies, and stories with spice and emotion that they can relate to. These every day stories are life changing to those students because they are situations they have experienced themselves. Life is fun when you make it fun. We teach students to picturerize their way through life not memorize. That is my friend the secret to mind priming and Rapid Cognition. You see every thing in life is what you make it; it’s not what is that counts but how you take it!
A life of learning is forever, not just for the young, because our brain has plasticity and it evolves every day. Challenge your life to learn every day of your life. Why spend it any other way?
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