A New Year for 2016!
Read this pretty cool article on memory.
On one level, this finding is trivial; all students have been warned not to cram. But the efficiencies created by precise spacing are so large, and the improvement in performance so predictable, that from nearly the moment Ebbinghaus described the spacing effect, psychologists have been urging educators to use it to accelerate human progress.
The memory appears to be gone because you can’t recall it, but we can prove that it’s still there. For instance, you can still recognize a ‘forgotten’ item in a group
Long-term memory, the Bjorks said, can be characterized by two components, which they named retrieval strength and storage strength.
One of the problems is that the amount of storage strength you gain from practice is inversely correlated with the current retrieval strength. I
n other words, the harder you have to work to get the right answer, the more the answer is sealed in memory.
The sole problem here, from the psychologists’ perspective, is that the user’s sense of achievement is exactly what we should most distrust.
Their results were impressive: The best time to study something is at the moment you are about to forget it
Instead, Wozniak has ridden SuperMemo into uncharted regions of self-experimentation. In 1999, he started making a detailed record of his hours of sleep, and now he’s working to correlate that data with his daily performance on study repetitions. Psychologists have long believed there’s a correlation between sleep and memory, but no mathematical law has been discovered
He selects a short section of what he’s reading and copies it into the SuperMemo application, which predicts when he’ll want to read it again so it sticks in his mind. He cuts and pastes completely unread material into the system, assigning it a priority
The guarantee that he would not forget what he learned was both a gift and a demand, requiring him to sacrifice every extraneous thing
When he entrusts his mental life to a machine, it is not to throw off the burden of thought but to make his mind more swift.
Extreme knowledge is not something for which he programs a computer but for which his computer is programming him.
By graphing the acquisition of knowledge in SuperMemo, he has realized that in a single lifetime one can acquire only a few million new items. This is the absolute limit on intellectual achievement defined by death.
His advice was straightforward yet strangely terrible: You must clarify your goals, gain knowledge through spaced repetition, preserve health, work steadily, minimize stress, refuse interruption, and never resist sleep when tired. This should lead to radically improved intelligence and creativity.