Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Gregorc Syle Delineator...

We did another experiment today in class to try to determine our method of thinking. The "test" is modeled from Gregorc Syle Delineator. The test will sort us into the four different categories.

1. Concrete Sequential (CS)
Abstract Random (AR)
Abstract Sequential (AS)
Concrete Random (CR)

The test format is as follow:
- look at a group of 4 individual words, then quickly rank them according to how closely I can associate the word with myself. The most alike is 4, and the least is 1.
- continue with other sets.
- add the numbers across the row, then add the sum down the column to the sums on all the rows beneath.
- there will be 4 columns total after the second addition. These columns represent each of the 4 areas (CS, AR, AS, CR)

Not surprisingly, The result shows that my strength is the Concrete Sequential. people with this area will tend to think things in a practical and logical way, without much creativity. They work things step-by-step, and will not be happy if things are not well-organized. They pay close attention to details.

Overall, the qualities described in the CS seem to fit my personality that i think I have. I see myself as being systematic with the procedures. I keep track of events in my planner, and tick off after I have completed. I even write small notes and stick them onto my watch for things that I have to complete on that day. Some of the qualities that might not be a perfect fit for me is "work well within time limit". Although I meet all my deadlines, I tend to not start the work as soon as possible.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Extended Reading Assignment

1. What is the relationship between memory and selfhood?

As suggested by its new paradigm, memory “creates the self”. It allows people to see their past, although sometimes not accurately. By looking at their past, people will understand their identity and “self”, thus suggesting that memory helps create the self. In other words, memory helps people understand their present identity. The process of learning is essential to determine our sense of self, and learning cannot take place in absence of memory. Afterall, we need memory to remember who we are.
“We remember, therefore we are”

“We remember, therefore we are”

2. What new discovery about memory do you find most interesting?

I find the PET scan very interesting. Although I know that technology always bring surprises, but visually observing brain activities is absolutely stunning for me. The first thing that came into my mind after reading about it is the sci-fi movie I watched when I was young. The sophisticate machines that appeared to be wrapping around the patient like a python. As a kid, when I see those images, I always wonder whether it is possible to track down the brain’s activities with some type of technology, not paper-work. The article had just told me it is.

3. How can some memories become indelible?

Memories can be indelible if the causes are severe, such as being shot or seeing a dead body. A traumatic event will increase the level of the stress hormone which can make the memory indelible. When a certain idea is experienced, the stress hormones from those causes will be released again, bringing back the painful past. Moreover, memories do not function as a single system, but many systems working together. Because of this, it is not easy to delete a certain memory. The part of the brain that records an event’s content is not the same as the part that encodes its meaning (how it felt toward you), therefore it is not easy to completely remove it.

4. How can amnesia and repression be explained?

Both repression and amnesia are caused by the malfunctioning of the part of brain called hippocampus. Repression results from repeated numbers of traumas, while amnesia is defined as a forgetful state due to the material failing to be stored in the long term memory in the first place. When a person experiences repression, the information is lost deep under the unconscious level of the mind. This is a way that the mind protects the person from such painful memory. Amnesia is often caused by events such as an accident that leads to loss of consciousness after the injury.

5. Explain the following statement: “Memory is more reconstructive than reproductive.”

After memories had been encoded, the process of retrieving reveals how memories can be reconstructed. The process of memory reconstruction occurs when people associate what they remember with the schema in mind, and so they recall not only what they input, but a mixture of the input and the reconstructed materials from their own experiences.

6. What new paradigm of memory is now emerging?

Memories are now understood as the “creative blending of fact and fiction” where images are converted into memories from the mixture of experience and emotion. Psychologists start to think that memory creates the self of an individual. In the past, Freud’s work led to the understanding of memories merely as repressed ideas. The old concepts about memory also tend to be rather negative from Freud. However, more optimistic explanations of memory such as are now introduced.

7. After reading this article, what conclusion can you make about memory?

Memory is the existence of the past. Without it, there will be no past. It is the “creative blending and reblending of experience and emotion”. Moreover, it gives us the sense of self. There are many new findings of memory until now. It does not work in a single network, but requires a number of systems working together. It is the ability to “repeat a performance with mistakes”. Memories are either implicit or explicit, meaning that it happens both on the conscious and unconscious levels.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

The Rumor Chain

The fifth experiment involving memory was the Rumor Chain, when a person listens to the original paragraph, then passes it on verbally to the second person, and the second person tells the third. The paragaph wasn't short. It is about a hijacker in a plane who was caught at the end of the story.
We see evidences of levelling (simplifying materials), sharpening (highlighting or overemphasizing some materials), and assimilations (changing details to better fit the subject's own background or knowledge-schemas).
The first volunteer already showed sign of the incomplete sensory input, because she left out the part about the People's Liberation Army. Moreover, she forgot that Jane Smith was actually the pilot, showing signs of schema developing. Usually a pilot is associated with male, and air hostess with female, therefor she associated the name "Jane" with female (air hostess). Possibly, because the first person is a girl, she is not famliar with guns, therefore correctly restated the detail of the gun. The second person, who is a boy who plays a lot of shooting games, knows exactly how the gun is like. Normally speaking, the Magnum 357 is referred to as .357 (notice the decimal point), and not surprisingly, he told the third person .357. This assimilation device shows how he related the word he heard with his own background knowledge. The airline's name "Quantas" remained throughout all three speakers, possibly because of its unfamiliar sounding which caught attention.

All Purpose Memory Activity

Today we did the fourth experiment on our memory. We listened to a set of 14 words, at about one second each. Then we wrote down what we remembered. Out of the 14 words, I remembered 8, which is a little lower than the class average. Everyone remembered the first word, and nearly as much remembered the last word. Three people (10 students in class) remembered hearing a word that was not actually said. A word was repeated three times, and so everyone got it. Weird-sounding word were also popular. The chunking process was supposed to work, but we are not familiar with that phrase, therefore the chunking didn’t.

There is an evidence of the serial position effect. Everyone wrote down the first word “bed”, and 6 people remembered the last word “dream”. Six people are not too bad, compared to the word “turn”, which only 3 people recalling it. The word “night” was repeated three times, and obviously everyone got it. The process of rehearsal enhances human's memory recall. The word "sleep" was a trick word, although it was a great example of the memory reconstruction process. Three people claimed that they heard the word "sleep". This shows how they had reconstructed their own memory, caused by associating with the actual words. The words "fatigue" and "artichoke" both had strange sounding, which made some people remember them. The process of chunking in the phrase "toss and turn" didn't work with us very well, since we don't usually use that phrase in our daily lives. Six people recalled "toss", but only three recalled "turn".
This experiment really helps to indicate the different techniques of memory and how it had effects on the person.

Short-term Numbers

Today we did a small experiment on short-term memory. We were given sets of numbers verbally, after that we had to record what we heard on the paper. The digits increase as we progress. Out of a perfect 12 score, we found out that the class average is 7 ± 2 digits. During the experiment, it was very easy to do the first three numbers, but the fourth number start to bring some hesitation to some people. From number five onward, many people no longer look at ease. Most people end at around the fifth number , some went further.

We had reached a conclusion about the human memory
- It is easier to remember through the method of “chunking”, which is to group similar number sequences together.
- Human remember things more easily if the information appear to have some sort of meaning they can associate.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Memory Enhances Recall

Memory Enhances Recall

In today’s experiment #3, we did an activity to compare two methods of memorizing. We were exposed to a series of 20 words with the letter A or B marked under for 3 seconds each. A indicated that we have to count the syllables, and B is to categorize it as pleasant or unpleasant. The words were both held up and spoken. Then after every word had been shown, we wrote down as many words as we can remember for about 3 minutes.

The class average of the A words is at 5 words, with the maximum at 10 and minimum at 1. The B words average is about 7, 9 being the highest and 2 the lowest. The total correct numbers of word is about 12, with 19 being the highest and 6 the lowest. My results were 3 A’s and 9 B’s, adding to a total of 12.

We conclude that many factors can affect how much, or what, we can remember. For most people, remembering a word by relating it to a basic emotion can effectively enhance the amount of things we remember.

In general, the step of remembering begins with external events being recorded by our sensory perceptions. Then those things are placed in the sensory memory. Later, some part of it is lost, and the more important parts are being encoded into the short-term memory. Finally, a small portion of the things are further encoded into the long-term memory. Usually the things that can come this far have very strong connections to that individual.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

First Memo

As far I think I remembered, my first memory is the scene when I was strolling in the park with my mom. I was probably about 2-3 years old. I felt like I was in my old neighborhood, the one that I lived in when I was very young. My mom was holding my hands and guided me forward. Now that I thought clearly about it, this memory might be more of a “I wish I had that memory” type. I might have seen it in a movie or book when I was very young, thus wish that it was true. As a result, the idea actually entered my memory storage and pretended to be part of it.

Mr. Anthony later said that memory usually doesn’t occur until age 5 or 6, therefore the park scene was probably a reconstructed memory. All memories are caused by events that involved a lot of emotional elements. Usually they are happy or sad events. The class average age group is around 3-4 years old, and all memories have some connections to happiness and sadness, ranging from falling down a bookshelf to vomiting. Memories are malleable, meaning that they can be easily influenced and shaped.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

That's Interesting

"This means that if you have a lot of negative emotion in your life, you may have somewhat less positive emotion than average, but that you are not remotely doomed to a joyless life."
Reading and writing about Seligman had given me a lot of encouragements and positive attitude in life.
Here are some of the few things in life that stimulate my positive thinkings...
Japanese guitar duo デパペペ "DepaPepe":
- Anyone who has a chance to hear their songs will be embraced with warmth and joyful, cozy feeling. With that said, DepaPepe is no doubt a great choice for inspiring positive attitudes

Guitar is all around~!!

- I love to play guitar after work, or before bedtime. That's how I clear my mind, getting ready to take a good night sleep. For me, a guitar burns the stress and bad feelings like exercising burns fat. It stimulates my creativity and liveliness, which is what I lack during other times. It has a sense of being in-control, because I can play whatever i want to, without being limited within a frame like in textbooks.

Learning about Seligman's positive psychology helps me to see the world in a different way. I begin to see the good side of people, events, and things around me more often. This reminds me of one of the greatest comeback-player on the ATP Professional Tennis tour, James Blake. I frequently thought of him as I read through the text on Seligman. Take a quick look at his interview after the match against another great compatriot tennis player, Andy Roddick.
"Yeah, unbelievable. I told Andy after the match it was the best grass court match I think I've ever played...he's gotten me plenty of times. I had to get him back just once...Yeah, things were going well."
"Today I just figured I have to go for it. I can't, you know, wait back and just push...I had to take my chances."


Friday, January 26, 2007

Personal Evaluation

Overall, I find Martin Seligman's concepts and ideas very interesting and useful. I admit that my optimistic level is low compare to other classmates, thus reading about the theories of psositive psychology certainly suggests me some new ways of thinking that help increase my optimistism level. Although I have heard it already, but the quote "In the long run, money does not account for happiness" gives me the feeling of optimism toward living a happy life with just enough needs, not a lavish lifestyle. This slightly changes my attitude toward applying as a tutor. At first I wanted to do it because I want to add on to my record of the extracurricular activity (I also earn money from being a tutor), but now after i read that quote, I want to do it because I want to show my tutee, whoever that is, how high school is like. That way I'm not taking the job for the money or for my own record, but I want to help middle school students, or even elementary students to at least have some clues about high school. Not only that the quote makes me realize that I should decide on something with a good, clean, and unselfish intention, thus will allow me to stop and think before I decide to do something in the future.