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Neurohacking - Tutorials
Written by NHA   
Sunday, 05 February 2012 12:46
Article Index
Neurohacking Tutorial 8 - Imagination, Memory and Prediction
Neuroanatomy of Memory - Structure and Function
Everywhere and Nowhere
How Memories are Made
What Happens if Things Go Wrong?
Core Skills for Memory Health and Improvement
Imagination and Prediction
NHA Guide to Methods & Technology
The Most Important Bits To Remember
Hacks & Exercices
Notes, References & Answers
All Pages

 

 

 Core Skills for Memory Health and Improvement

 

Maintaining low anxiety levels

The biggest overall enemy of memory is anxiety. As we know, a single rush of stress hormones keeps us alert and stretches our mind and makes learning and remembering easier, but if the brain is constantly flushed with cortisol the hippocampus and frontal lobes will be damaged, with deleterious affects on learning and recall.

 

Strategizing for healthy sleep

The second biggest problem for memory is sleep-deprivation. Being woken by alarm clocks or getting to sleep using sleeping pills/alcohol will automatically cause this. Even a small amount of sleep/dream deprivation is bad news for memory and perception, because it results in unpleasant events being remembered more often than pleasant ones. The amy prioritises ‘danger’ events if the hippo doesn’t have time to fully process all its contents, in fact it even has a special backup network to do this -so if you go short on sleep you will still recall bad events but your memory of good ones will more easily fade. As you can imagine, this can have a strong distorting affect on your perception of life in general.


Using it -don't rely on external aids unless you have to

Your memory wants you to play with it, every day. We are used to thinking of constant use as something that wears things out or makes them break down, because this is how machines, artefacts and tools behave. We must get used to the idea that NOT using the brain is what wears it out and using it wrongly is what makes it break down.

Obviously we write stuff down or make a note on our tech when we have difficulty remembering it, and that's fine. But there's no excuse for not committing to memory short simple stuff that we use a lot, or avoiding bothering to remember something because 'it's in my phone/on my computer'. That won't improve memory, and a great memory exercise is to make a list of all the little things you use a lot, such as phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays, appointments etc, and then commit them to memory. You'll not have to waste time keep looking stuff up, and you will improve your memory for other tasks just by doing this. While you are learning, you can still set alarms for important appointments, and it feels very cool when you already know what you are doing and get reminded of it.

Other opportunities along the same lines: if you sit in the house and make a shopping list by mentally going round the kitchen and remembering what you need, and then take the list to the shops, why not miss out the list step? Walk round the shop and mentally go round your kitchen and simply pick up whatever you remember you need.

If you use bookmarks in hard copy books, try memorizing what page you're on when you put the book down, then recalling it whenever you want to read more. Practicing little things like this regularly makes a huge difference to performance of memory overall; any system that's accustomed to being used regularly is primed for constant use and patrolled by a healthy immune response.

 

Taking care of the supporting factors

Memory relies on many supporting systems, notably attention, congruous association and imagination.

A great way to check/improve your sustained attention and improve your visual imagery is to listen to audio books and take note of how often your attention drifts off the story even though you are interested in it. (If the story proves boring, you choose another story). After listening, try to summarize the story in your memory and see how much you remember. How much do you remember about the main characters? Such exercises as these can do a lot to tell us how much attention-loss is responsible for our not making memories.

If you find imagining things in pictures difficult, a good method for practice is to play a movie that you know well, turn your back to the screen (or turn the screen round out of sight) and just listen to the audio. As you listen, imagine what is going on in the movie. Practicing this usually brings improvement fast.

Interestingly, regular television watchers have much worse attention spans than those who don't watch TV often, but the same is not true of internet use, gamers or movie viewers.

You can begin working on congruous association by using input control. The feedback process that forms new associations (sometimes known as 'Neural Darwinism') is supposed to ensure that patterns producing thoughts and behaviors that help the organism to thrive are laid down permanently in eidetic memory while those that are useless fade, but association development is not a rigid system because we are so adaptable, it blindly trusts that our input is going to be sensible and reliable. Consequently, if any input constantly tells the brain that something is true or beneficial, even if it blatantly isn’t, the brain will tend to unconsciously believe it.

In Input Control you should start to avoid input that deliberately makes false claims or associations about anything (for example in order to coerce you into buying it or believing it).

For different persons this may include avoiding TV adverts, magazines, salespeople, teachers, workmates, priests, parents, relatives, politicians and religious fanatics. Your choice of what and whom to ignore, what and whom is ‘true or not true’, must be judged by you; that’s what taking control means; but you should adjust your own input accordingly. If something is not likely to be true, you need to stop paying attention to it because you're wasting memory space.

In making these changes, we must realize not only that we cannot believe everything we hear, but that sometimes we cannot continue to believe stuff we heard or were taught previously. That sounds obvious, but false associations develop when we are told something is true (often in good faith) when in fact it isn’t. For examples, if we are taught to associate “quiet children” with “studious”, “intelligent” and “good”, or to associate “fat” with “prosperous”, “robust” and “healthy”, we will make false associations in perception, memory and behavior.

Notice how these trains of false association in brain networks can lead to the decline of both the brain and biology's other body systems via wrong behavior.

Likewise you must look at what you've been told in the past because continuing to believe nonsense like 'no pain no gain' or 'cereal food is good for you' will never make sense to the unconscious mind because it's not true.

We have to change our minds about any false associations that are deleterious to our health as well as making sure no more get programmed in. You may find as you progress with exploring your associations that you no longer believe some things that you used to, or may believe some things that you didn’t used to, due to what you have now found out. Don't worry; this is a natural result of your mind maturing, (and it’s the same reason you no longer believe in the tooth faery, monsters under the bed and Santa Claus.) Changing our minds about some things is just part of developing intelligence.

False associations will fade if you start to practise congruous association. If you have any very weak networks you should do exercises to build them up a little before practising, but N3’s inner model favors association factors that make sense on all levels, and natural associations do this.

The feedback loops between brain and environment are a bootstrap operation of excellence; even the simplest simulated network can achieve phenomenal complexity in a short time if it is programmed to replicate patterns that are beneficial and throw out those that are not (for example, look at the speed with which the newborn, given optimal conditions, wires up the entire visual cortex.) So you can trust your own intelligence to make good associations for you, once given the prompt. By shifting towards more congruous association you are providing this prompt; you will help the network wire itself up as intended, enabling faster processing and greater clarity.

Congruous association is something we will be learning more about over the next few tutorials, and there will be plenty of exercises and information along the way.

 

DO IT NOW

 

Random congruous association

Here’s an example of how core concepts contribute their parts to a memory.

We’ve chosen the random subject “Beethoven’s 6th”. [You can use this technique to look for your own associations for any random subject]:

 

Keyword: “Beethoven’s 6th”

Matter associations: Human composer, sheet music, CD, musical instruments, preparing self to go to concert or relaxing at home

Space associations: environment where music is heard -auditorium, venue, location, place of origin

Density associations: affects neurotransmission & emotion/imagination

Time associations: is a procedure, music, creativity, involves tool use, timing, cooperation and regulation, orchestra (group working in synchrony), concert dates & times, rectitude, tempo, rhythm, performance, attending with friends, social occasion

Energy associations: increases energy, inspires, motivates

Power associations: spiritually uplifting, empowering, produces synergy, decision to listen to beethoven

 

Now, can you guess which one will be the dominant core category? Did you shortcut the guess because you already know than network 4 [time] processes most of music?

Now, see if you can think of some congruous associations and the main core concepts for the items below [answers at end of tutorial]:

A computer

 

A cave

 

A Bavarian cyclist’s jockstrap

 

 



Last Updated on Monday, 29 May 2017 13:32