MEMORY (continued)

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of this section

Plato and the Mind
Brain Training
Types of Memory

Plato and the Mind

It is curious that Bruce speaks of his brain as if it were a tool to be used as and when required to assist in the act of memorisation.   This thought reminds me of what the Ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, said - he believed the mind and body were made up of different things.  Each followed separate sets of rules.  He taught that the mind was the more important of the two and the general 'body' (things that you could see, touch, and so on) formed the foundations of reality.  'Platonic ideas' came about through a process of reasoning, by drawing a general conclusion about something mainly based on experience or through experimenting with the available facts.  Plato also maintained that ideas represented the genuine basis for reality.  Plato believed that once you had an idea about something, to you that idea was real. For example, you walk by a coliseum.  You think,'Wouldn't it be great if the coliseum had a roof to protect everyone from the sun?' As far as your perception of the world is concerned, simply by having the ability to visualise the coliseum with a roof, the roof may as well be there.

In more recent times, René Descartes, another philosopher extended Plato's theory by concluding that the processes that control the mind and soul were indivisible.  On the other hand, the basic controls that governed the body could be divisible and understood through mathematics and physical study   So, according to Descartes, ideas were directly perceived in the mind without any influence of the 'body'.  Today, many generally believe that an idea is a mental episode created in the mind and based on real experience or known facts.

If you don't use it, you'll lose it, so keep your mind in trim with rigorous mental workouts,

 

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Brain Training

Make way for the thinking man's gym, where the brain is the new biceps and sculpting your grey matter rather than downsizing your backside is the ultimate aim of those who sign up for membership.

Training programmes that change the way you think are big news in America, and the concept of flexing your mental muscles is starting to prick consciences over here. Companies such as Microsoft, Barclays, Pret A Manger and the Department for Education and Skills are all clients of The Mind Gym, the first centre in Britain to offer aerobics for the brain, and it is predicted that, over the next decade, more of us will be attempting regular mental workouts rather than physical ones.

Six quick brain teasers devised by Octavius Black of The Mind Gym

* Increase your cognitive capability by playing games that force you to use your memory (such as bridge) or to think ahead (such as chess).

* Use mental downtime. For example, the next time you meet someone you think is boring, set yourself the challenge of trying to find out something interesting about them by the end of the conversation.

* Prevent mental idleness by performing a routine activity in a different way every time.

* Exercise your creative muscles. Put your feet up, gaze out of the window and spend five minutes letting your mind drift away. Then write down everything that you thought about during that time.

* Consciously try to make better decisions. If you are normally quick to decide on something, force yourself to collect information and think more carefully before making a decision. If you tend to overanalyze, try making a few decisions immediately based on your gut instincts. The key is to challenge yourself.

* Improve your concentration. When you are walking down a street, fix your eye on a point in the distance and keep this focus.

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Types of Memory

Four different types of remembering are ordinarily distinguished by psychologists: recollection, recall, recognition, and relearning. Recollection involves the reconstruction of events or facts on the basis of partial cues, which serve as reminders; recall is the active and unaided remembering of something from the past; recognition is the ability to correctly identify previously encountered perceptions or internal experiences as familiar; relearning may show evidence of the effects of memory. Material that is familiar is often easier to learn a second time than it would be if it were unfamiliar, suggesting this is a different type of memory.

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