Saturday, February 27, 2010

Selective Memory Update

A few posts ago I stated I am trying to cure a particularly cumbersome problem, having an involuntarily selective memory. Here's an update plus some procedure additions.

As of far, I have found the most beneficial change to be that of reducing the variety of reading I do at any one time, especially that with books. A few weeks ago I attempted to read The Ominous Parallels and The Primal Blueprint at the same time, sometimes finishing a chapter in one book and then immediately resuming the reading of the other. I was frustrated with the difficulty I was having with retaining information from either one of them, and how difficult it was to read TOP when I was so intensely interested at the time at only reading TPB. My conception was that reading more than one book at a time would be more efficient and beneficial for my learning, but I think now that such a notion may not be right for my personal lifestyle. I could study and do homework assignments from multiple books at one time, but for pure reading it is probably most effectual that I focus on one thing at a time.

So for the past week or so I have set down TOP in favor of TPB and am noticing a significant improvement in my retention of the material. I remember that lectins are a type of plant protein that can cause autoimmune responses. I know the difference between melatonin and serotonin. I see justification as to why chronic cardio exercises can lead to the release of destructive hormones. I can remember this material past my reading it, and what makes this more interesting is that I'm in particular able to remember strange scientific words such as phytates that I am normally not accustomed to using consistently. Improvement!

I find this particularly heartening since for the past several months my interest in nutrition has been increasing and I have been finding it difficult to do scientific reading since my mind couldn't hold on to the foreign terminology. Now that I'm making progress in this regard it opens the door widely to furthering my intellectual competence.

Furthermore, I find my motivation to read increasing. It was difficult to bring myself to TOP when I wanted to read TPB, so I couldn't focus on my reading when I attempted it and my comprehension would be harmed by my immediately replacing philosophical thoughts with scientific thoughts as soon as I had gotten enough of TOP and excitedly switched to TPB.

Once I finish TPB I will focus exclusively on TOP next. I am not sure if this "one book at a time" procedure will apply to me always throughout my life, but for now this is what I'll do.

As for procedure changes, based on further recommendations:

1.) When dealing with new information, I'll try to imagine a hierarchical flow chart and place the information according to where it fits, according to how it's supported by prior information and how it supports following information, or else I'll recite to myself a chain of reasoning that keeps everything connected and interrelated. For instance, if I wanted to remember precisely how weight-gain and degenerative diseases occur I'll recite to myself the information in the exact order of the process: the excessive consumption of carbohydrates, the body's insulin response, the conversion of glucose to fat, the storage of fat, the effects after consistent exposure to too much insulin, and so on. This way I can remember individual facts by connecting them to a larger whole.

2.) When dealing with names, I'll try to consciously associate them with as much meaning a possible. For example, the reason why I can retain the words melatonin and serotonin even though they're scientific terms I'm unaccustomed to is because I know what physical impact they have on the body: serotonin is produced when one is exposed to light (through the eyes I assume, rather than skin) and makes for wakeful, cheerful moods, and is converted into melatonin when the light fades, making the body feel prepared for sleep. While I may not fully understand how these "hormones" (a term I have not properly integrated yet) work, I can remember them because I associate them with what they do.

So far so good. I'll give another update at a later time.

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