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Lino249

Reading and remembering

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Hello, I wasn't sure if this should go there but it was my best guess.

I love reading the 'New scientist' magazines and I have a big collection of them, however, as they are very detailed and have a lot of information in them I find it really difficult to remember what I have read. I think this is because of my dyslexia or it might happen to a lot of other non dyslexic people but I was wondering if you all have some helpful tips to help. I would love to be able to read the magazines and all the information just get absorbed into my head. I know that the brains memory is never that good though. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Make notes. Put things in your own words.

Re-read the things you really want to remember just before going to sleep.

In the case of New Scientist articles follow up any references they provide. (If, for example, we only remember 10% of what we read, then read ten times as much. :))

I doubt if your dyslexia has too much to do with the problem, but even if it does these techniques will still work.

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1 hour ago, Lino249 said:

Hello, I wasn't sure if this should go there but it was my best guess.

I love reading the 'New scientist' magazines and I have a big collection of them, however, as they are very detailed and have a lot of information in them I find it really difficult to remember what I have read. I think this is because of my dyslexia or it might happen to a lot of other non dyslexic people but I was wondering if you all have some helpful tips to help. I would love to be able to read the magazines and all the information just get absorbed into my head. I know that the brains memory is never that good though. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I once had a teacher who said

 

" The more times you write something down, the greater the danger is that you will remember it."

 

So here goes.

 

When I was at university in the 1960s I started taking some scientific magazines.

I soon encountered your problem, but worse because there were many things I could not (fully) understand or realise the significance of.

So I got a pack of 6" x 4" cardex cards and started an index.
The card headings were initially conditioned by the subject titles in the mags.
New cards were started as new articles arose.
Later I learned to add particularly useful bits inside some of the articles.
So I started with say the card power supply.
This was followed by a new card just for regulators
Eventually the cards were stored in a suitable card drawer.

I have kept this up ever since and continued widening the scope.
Cross reference cards were also introduced to help searching.
Sometimes photocopied articles from other sources were added and stored in File boxes.
Some revision was also undertaken as I gained knowledge and experience.
The cards were colour coded according to subject type so when I started wrting down the titles etc of books I thought worth noting I used pink cards.

So I have generated a wide ranging library of articles and knowledge going back to the 1960s as a result, that is easy to extend and modify as you go along.

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23 minutes ago, studiot said:

I once had a teacher who said

 

" The more times you write something down, the greater the danger is that you will remember it."

I used to re-copy my notes (in clearer writing, too, since I wasn't rushed) when I was in school. Classroom notes on a pad, copied into a bound notebook.  

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9 hours ago, studiot said:

I once had a teacher who said

 

" The more times you write something down, the greater the danger is that you will remember it."

 

So here goes.

 

When I was at university in the 1960s I started taking some scientific magazines.

I soon encountered your problem, but worse because there were many things I could not (fully) understand or realise the significance of.

So I got a pack of 6" x 4" cardex cards and started an index.
The card headings were initially conditioned by the subject titles in the mags.
New cards were started as new articles arose.
Later I learned to add particularly useful bits inside some of the articles.
So I started with say the card power supply.
This was followed by a new card just for regulators
Eventually the cards were stored in a suitable card drawer.

I have kept this up ever since and continued widening the scope.
Cross reference cards were also introduced to help searching.
Sometimes photocopied articles from other sources were added and stored in File boxes.
Some revision was also undertaken as I gained knowledge and experience.
The cards were colour coded according to subject type so when I started wrting down the titles etc of books I thought worth noting I used pink cards.

So I have generated a wide ranging library of articles and knowledge going back to the 1960s as a result, that is easy to extend and modify as you go along.

Oddly this isn't the case with me. I don't know if it is because I work via computer so much or what but I have a difficult time thinking or processing information while physically writing anything. It's so bad that I will often type out words and or phrases prior to writing them down because the act of typing allows me to think my fluidly while writing itself often causes me to lose my train of thought. Words I struggle to spell on paper are effortlessly typed and things I type are much easier to recall than those I write down. For me typing something out via a word doc or email, even just once, is far more effective than creating hand written flashcards. When I really want to remember something I write myself an email about it. I don't merely forwards links or copy and paste text but actually type out a short summary. Even if I never read the email, I typically don't, the summary is remember.

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I too remember better that which I write down.  After watching my students work and noting who learned and remembered the most, I came to the conclusion that remembering, for most people, requires that the brain process the information in some form.  Reading alone does not seem to cause most people to process the information.  Read-interpret-write seems to cause sufficient processing to make information stick better.

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11 hours ago, OldChemE said:

I too remember better that which I write down.  After watching my students work and noting who learned and remembered the most, I came to the conclusion that remembering, for most people, requires that the brain process the information in some form.  Reading alone does not seem to cause most people to process the information.  Read-interpret-write seems to cause sufficient processing to make information stick better.

Exactly so. At university I took extensive notes, always being careful to rephrase the concepts in my own words. I rarely ever reread these; it was the act if listening, understanding, then capturing the essence in writing that enabled efficient recollection of the information.

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Taking notes definitely helps, but the effect it has helping to better remember IMO is not specific to the act of writing. It's more related to processing the information in other parts of the brain.

Instead of just processing the information via the auditory areas, when you engage the information in other ways you start to include other parts of the brain... Spots like the visual cortex and motor cortex, for example, when you write it down. Since each of these areas are connected to the memory centers, the neural connections become denser and spread out over more areas.

Keep in mind, though, the same might happen if you repeated that information verbally or tried to explain it to someone else (wherein you engage the vocal centers and story creation areas), or drew the concepts as art on a canvas, or even sculpted them with clay, etc. AFAIK, it's the activation of other brain regions that matters here more than the mere act of writing.

This is just an analogy and limited flawed like any other analogy, but... It's a bit like layering sounds on top of each other when composing and listening to a symphony. When you only hear the information via one channel or only engage one region of the brain, it's a bit like a having only the flutes play. However, once you write it down and engage the motor cortex and language areas and narrative creation areas, you are essentially adding in the clarinets and drums and perhaps even the tubas and trumpets to that score.

The sound becomes richer and fuller and more impactful... or, dare I say, more memorable. The recall of information is strikingly similar.

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For me it is very easy to remember something that i can totally understand, visualizing and/or painting that thing helps a lot to not only understand something but also memorize.

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I used to be able to memorise a lot of data and successfully recall it precisely after years, but my memory has really weakened since then, and this has forced me to seek out new strategies to memorise stuff I'm interested in. 

For instance, I find that underlying passages with a pencil and copying quotes and then taking notes and making conceptual maps helps me a lot. Also, it's helpful if I can connect new information to things I already know - it's like I create a network of information in my mind, like my own tiny version of Wikipedia, with links that connect one piece of information to another. It makes it easier to remember for me because if I forget something I can work out a path that leads me from one thing I remember to the piece of information I need to retrieve. Does that make sense?

Anyway, a lot depends on how you preferably process information. For example, if you're a visual person, associating pictures, visual outlines or maps will help you. If you're more of an auditory person, repeating things or listening to them (in a video, podcast, etc) may help you more.  

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