Friday, October 19, 2012


So I had an interesting experience today where my education actually hindered me academically. I had my Fundamental Literary Interpretations and Critical Analysis  midterm today (yes, the class is just how you would imagine from the title). Studying for the test was kind of intense and I remembered pretty much everything that I needed to except for three different types of fallacies  I remembered what they meant, just not what they were called.

So, of course while I was sitting in class waiting for it to start I looked over the three names and started repeating them to myself over and over again. While I was doing this, trying to keep the terms in my head until the tests started, I remembered what I had learned about the memory in my psychology class about two years ago.

 I started thinking about how the technique that I was implementing was called holding, where you try and hold something in your mind by repeating it over and over. That reminded me that short term memory, contrary to popular belief, is actually only about 10 seconds long and is typically capped at about 7 to 9 items. Which of course reminded me that that was the reason why phone numbers are 6 numbers long without an area code and 9 numbers long with one so that they can be easily remembered in the short term memory.

 The grouping of phone numbers into (XXX) XXX-XXX reminded me of another device implemented in order to increase the amount of information that can be held in the short term memory called grouping. Since the brain can only remember about 8 things, the brain will try to group similar information together and remember it as one thing. So, when you're looking at a phone number even though you are really trying to remember 9 numbers, you tell yourself that it is really 3 things. It's kind of like the Japanese particle "to" if anyone knows what I'm talking about.

So of course all of these things made me think of the curve of knowledge or whatever it's called that was a study done that measured how much people remember over a certain period of time. And then I looked up, saw a huge midterm on my desk and realized that while thinking about memory I'd stopped implementing holding, and had forgotten all about the three fallacies I was trying to remember. I think I still did alright on the midterm but, as far as those three terms go, I have no idea if I got them right. But at least I know I learned something in Psychology.

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