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Monday, 9 March 2020

The Second Technique: Consciously controlling the Hippocampus

One method of retaining things in memory is to consciously control the hippocampus and to force it to remember everything and anything that you want to. Of course, actual control of the hippocampus is not possible, but one can use techniques that can make the hippocampus "sit up and pay attention". That is, there are ways to show the hippocampus that a particular fact needs to be remembered. Remember that the hippocampus is the "sorting house" of information in the brain, the place where the automatic decisions are made as to what shall be remembered and what shall be forgotten of all the information that the conscious mind encounters.
The Second Technique: Consciously controlling the Hippocampus
The Second Technique: Consciously controlling the Hippocampus

However, while the hippocampus automatically sorts information, there are ways in which to let it know that a particular bit of information, such as a phone number, for example, is particularly important. One of these techniques is merely to focus correctly upon a fact that has to be remembered, and this focus has to be for a particular period of time. This period of time is eight seconds. If you actually focus on any fact for eight complete seconds, the hippocampus is clued to the idea that you wish that fact or information to be stored in the mind's long term memory areas. What, you claim that you do focus on facts? Yes, but do you really focus on any particular fact for eight entire seconds?

If someone tells you their name, don't you usually just listen to it, feel you must remember it, fully intend to remember it, and then promptly forget it. That's not the way. No, what you need to do is to actually repeat the name within your mind, think about it, smile at the person and say their name as you tell them you are very glad to meet them. Use the name in the course of your conversation with them as you look at their faces to correlate the name to the face. Do all this and you will be concentrating on the name for a great deal more than eight seconds, more than enough time for the hippocampus to realize that you consider that fact, that particular piece of information, that name and that face especially important, and that you consciously wish it to be placed in long term memory storage.

The more you consciously focus your mind, the less confused your hippocampus is about whether to remember it or not. There is an interesting example that will help you see how the hippocampus work. It happens to all of us that we sometimes wake up from a deep sleep at night with some interesting idea. The idea might even seem to us at that moment to be wonderful enough to change the way the world works. Of course, you feel you have to preserve it for posterity and you night even write it down, perhaps using the mobile or smartphone lying on your night stand. You may not write down the idea in full, trusting to your memory at least in part. Instead, in your sleepy state what you'll probably try to do is to outline the idea, relying on your memory to supply the rest. What you don't realize that in your sleepy, almost unfocused state, your hippocampus is all but dormant, and almost nothing that you trust to memory will make it to the morning.

So you wake up the nest day and read what you stored on your iPhone and find a few disjointed words on it that may say, "hurry, spanners, to the right, work on it, titanium". And this is all that is left of an idea you thought has the potential to change the world. As I mentioned before, this was because your hippocampus was actually far more dormant than you realized, and I mentioned it to clue you in to how important it is to consciously focus so that the hippocampus is alert to what you wish to remember. If you're a person who relies upon writing things down all the time, you may find as your memory capacity degrades through this practice that over time you begin to forget even the meaning of the notes you write to yourself.

For example, you might jot down a few words in a hurried manner in the course of the day about things you want to remember to do in the evening in shove these notes into your pocket book or purse, and yet find at the end of the day that you can't make sense of half of them. Yet, if you were to focus for eight seconds on any one of these notes, you would certainly remember its meaning at the end of the day. Develop an attention span, because an attention span is everything if you're trying to develop a good memory.

The normal person who thinks they have a bad memory may have a very good memory - they may just have a bad attention span, and if they correct this and learn to focus and concentrate more on a face that they wish to remember, and for an entire eight seconds, they will find that their memory is actually very reliable after all.

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