02 January 2010

This Reminds Me of Something...

Interesting piece about the problems of remembering as we grow older:

if you are primed with sounds that are close to those you’re trying to remember — say someone talks about cherry pits as you try to recall Brad Pitt’s name — suddenly the lost name will pop into mind. The similarity in sounds can jump-start a limp brain connection. (It also sometimes works to silently run through the alphabet until landing on the first letter of the wayward word.)

This is exactly the method that I have developed in my old age: when I can't remember a name or word, I start saying apparently random sounds to myself, gradually focussing on those that *feel* close to the one I'm looking for. It something takes a while, but I can generally find the word, and it usually has some connection with the ones that I pronounce in my journey towards it.

I also found that this resonated with my experience too:

continued brain development and a richer form of learning may require that you “bump up against people and ideas” that are different. In a history class, that might mean reading multiple viewpoints, and then prying open brain networks by reflecting on how what was learned has changed your view of the world.

I find working in the field of computing useful here, since there are always new things to try. As the article says, it seems particularly helpful to try out things you are *not* particularly sympathetic to. It's the reason that I started twittering on 1 January last year: to force myself to do something new and something challenging. Well, that seemed to work out. Question is, what should I be doing this year?

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca.

6 comments:

The Mad Hatter said...

Hum. Why don't you try writing pro-DRM articles?

Of course your brain may explode under the stress. Happy New Year Glyn!

glyn moody said...

Hmm, that might be a challenge too far...

And the same to you.

Paul said...

A similar idea is found in Freud's 1901 book "The Psychopathology of Everyday Life".


I imagine it will be online soon, as I heard that Freud's works are in the public domain in Europe as of January 1st this year.

zaine_ridling said...

First, keep the twitter stream going because they're already reflective of your lure toward diversity. Your tweets are usually the best of the entire day because they start from one perspective and follow interesting and unexpected paths.

As for 2010, consider doing something outside of the computer. Myself, I'm re-reading 40 classics of Western Literature this year that I had to read my freshman year. At age 48, I'm sure I'll find all kinds of delightful new things in them.

glyn moody said...

@Paul: reall? Maybe that's where I stole it from - but I don't remember...

glyn moody said...

@Zaine: thanks for all that excellent advice