Friday, July 30, 2010

Brain Thinking Memory Creativity Repetition Internet Distraction Hurts Memory Creativity

Tags: Brain, Thinking, Memory, Creativity, Google, Repetition, Internet Distraction, The Shallows, Nicolas Carr, Religion, Kandel, Synapses, Neurons, Charlie Rose,

We need to have a large store house of information in our cortex and hippocampus which can unconsciously be sorted for appropriate information to our working memory to correlate facts beyond what the so-called “experts” think. It is really common sense. Most successful individuals do what they do obsessively. It is similar to how we develop strong religious convictions by constant repetition. About 30 percent of members of the prestigious Academy of Science attend church weekly, and one headed the successful government Human Genome Project.

The drawback is that the ultra religious Fundamentalists congress and the Supreme Court who are obviously very bright seem not to understand that our Constitution was for the people, not non-human corporations! They have made many cruel decisions without a hint of regret. Obama made the mistake often trying to accommodate Senators who have this flawed ingrained way of thinking. How can they follow a religion made up by flawed and cruel religious figures in the twelfth, thirteenth, and nineteenth century.

Most of my coworkers at a chemical engineering firm were from the Ivy schools so could do well in school and had high intelligence of about 140 with the few over 160. So does that guarantee good research? Apparently not! Many Nobel prize winners do not have the highest IQ on the block. It certainly does help us understand the complex reasoning involved in understanding the difficult to read publications necessary for us to think in the realm of doing research.

In contrast to the current view, we must have superb memories because we need to absorb information slowly in a non-distraction environment to be able to solve current problems and invent new products.

Unfortunately the Internet in its current form is a very distracting environment. I find that I remember facts much better when I transfer articles to my word processor first, ignore hyperlinks which studies have shown to reduce retention of the article. Also the overwhelming amount of information we get by way of Google makes us want to skim a lot to get the fact we are looking for. Because the information goes to our working memory which has a very small capacity, much of which is thrown out by the following bits of information and so on. The information is retained for seconds and then transferred to the hippocampus. If not reinforced by repetition, the synapse disappears with the memory.

Much of the pioneering Nobel Prize winning work was first by Kandel at Columbia on a snail. What is amazing is the reinforcement strengthens the synapse and with increasing reinforcement, the neurons start to develop more synaptic connections which can run into the hundreds.

All of this is a chemical process whose speed depends on genetics. Over many years with continued reinforcement, the memory is passed on to the cortex memory bank resulting in very long-term memory. One weakness we have is that each time we recall this memory of an event or facts, it can change. This becomes a tragedy in the use of identification in crimes, especially identifying a person of a different race or Catholic Priest abuse often reported decades later. I believe many of these claims are false.

I highly recommend the Kandel moderated Ten part Brain series so far on show. In a separate interview Charlie Rose addresses Creativity which has gone down 20% since the 1990s. I repeat things because many of you have distracted and busy lives so manytimes you do not read the material I send. I hope that if you got this far, you will read the Brody column slowly without distractions. Print it out if you want.

Many well-meaning educators want to eliminate rote memory work. How can we think without information in our brain. Some very bright guys seem to think we don’t need to because we can look it up. My question is would you know what to look up?

Sleep is extremely important for our brain to organize information, delete unimportant information unless you find it interesting and important, and more securely keep the memory. Remember Rote repetition is the lifeblood of Thinking and Creating! Many schools in the ghetto that succeed marvelously teach in a rote repetition manner and test at such high levels even with the bad ghetto culture about equivalent to the dumbed down White Internet kids without cheating. One Principal in a ghetto school ignores the so-called modern way to teach reading and has very successfully gone back to the old and test methods to teach reading.

Socrates thought that memory is so important to how we think that he fought the introduction of a reading tablet! Think about this if you can. If we had the Internet during the Enlightenment, I doubt that it would have happened.

Nicholas Carr who wrote the famous article in Google Makes Us Stupid , wrote a book explaining why it does proven with a large amount of excellent brain research by people at the top of brain and memory research. But the first question I had was how can he concentrate enough to write a book if he can’t read one?

The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr, a former editor for a large book publishing company seems to read like a Google Search. Towards the last few chapters, he seems to have become a good writer an editor should be.

He said in about the last chapter that he had a very difficult time concentrating enough to write the book in distracting Boston. So he and his wife moved to a mountain in Colorado free from cell phone reception and the DSL internet connection was very slow. Distance from the station influences speed of the transmission.

He got rid of all e-mail linkages not absolutely necessary, turned off the RSS feed, and even closed down the e-mail page which I do many times. I found that the Internet is very addictive and it took me a while to greatly reduce my activity, but I still do write blogs completely from memory so I am partially succeeding. Nicolas Carr admitted that he is now back on the web again after he was close to the last chapter!

Jim Kawakami, July 30, 2010,

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