Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Principles of Memory & Neuroplasticity

1.  "Interest" – In order to remember something thoroughly, you must be interested in it. You must
have a reason to learn it. Seek ways to make it personal.

2. "Intent to Remember"  – has much to do with whether or not you remember something. A
key factor to remembering is having a positive attitude that you will remember. Take notes.
Predict test questions. Use a concentration checklist; every time your mind wanders, put a check
on this sheet. Eventually, you will program your mind to pay attention.

3. "Basic Background"( – Your understanding of new material depends, to a great degree, on
how much you already know about the subject. The more you increase your basic knowledge, the
easier it is to build new knowledge on this background. Before reading an assignment, preview it.
Try to recall what you already know.

4. "Selectivity"– You must determine what is most important, and select those parts to study and
learn. You cannot remember everything about everything. Look for verbal and non-verbal clues
during lecture. Make flashcards. Devise sample tests.

5. "Meaningful Organization" – You can learn and remember better if you group ideas into
meaningful categories. Search for ways to organize information into categories that are
meaningful to you. Alphabetize a list. Use a variety of mnemonic devices.

6. "Recitation" – Saying ideas aloud in your own words is one of the most powerful tools you
have to transfer information from short-term to long-term memory. When you finish reading a
paragraph/section in a textbook, stop and recite.

7. "Mental Visualization" – Another powerful memory principle is making a mental picture of
what needs to be remembered. By visualizing, you use an entirely different part of the brain than
you do when reading or listening.

8. "Association" – Memory is increased when facts to be learned are associated with something
familiar to you. By recalling something you already know and making a link to the "brain file"
that contains that information, you should be able to remember new information more efficiently.

9. "Consolidation" – Your brain must have time for new information to soak in. Take notes and
review them. Ask questions. Make flashcards. Make practice tests.

10."Distributed Practise"– A series of shorter study sessions distributed over several days is
preferable to fewer, but longer study sessions. After each hour of study, take a 10-minute break.
Have a scheduled time to study each subject. Make use of daylight hours and time you usually
waste. Study immediately before and after class. Review. Review. Review!

"Don't forget the curve of forgetting"

12 more principles of memory:

Big & Little pictures
Time on Task
Ongoing Review

Four More:

Practice Retrieval
Process Material Actively
Use Distributed Practise
Use Metamemory

Specifics: Eidetics, Mnemonics, Chunking, Linking, Synaesthesia


• Synaptic connections are continually being modified (re-organisation of
– In response to demand – learning, memory, disuse
– After damage to the CNS
– LTP: alteration of the structure of the synapse

• Cellular level
– Increased sensitivity to neural transmitters
– Increase number and branches of dendrites
– Increase and strengthening of synaptic connections (Hebbe)
– Axon sprouting

Cortical maps – ‘use it or lose it’


By constraining an appropriate behaviour and reinforcing another the underlying brain structure will modify its neural function to perform the reinforced task & not the constrained one.

i. The Effect of Use on Neural Substrates 

The first principle of neuroplasticity is that if a neural substrate is not biologically active, it will degrade in function.

ii. Usage Improves Function

This principle, an extension of the first, states that with increased biological activity, future functioning can be enhanced.

iii. Plasticity is Experience Specific

This principle suggests that changes in neural function with practice may be limited to the specific function being trained.

iv. Repetition of Training

This principle states that changes in neural substrates will occur only as a result of extensive and prolonged practice and that neural changes may not become consolidated until later in the training process.

v. Intensity of Training

The principle that training must be continuous over long periods to induce neural change.

vi. The Time of Training Onset

This principle states that different forms of neural plasticity may occur at various times in response to treatment.

vii. Salience of Training

The principle that training must be sufficiently salient to induce plasticity may be of considerable importance to speech. That is, simple repetitive movements or strength training may not enhance skilled movement and may have less potential for inducing changes in neural function underlying voice and speech production for communication. 

viii. Age Effects on Training

Although neural plasticity can occur over the entire lifespan, it is well recognized that training and environmentally induced plasticity occur more readily in younger than in older nervous systems.
(See Ergogenics below)

ix. Transference

The principle of transference states that plasticity following training in one function may enhance related behaviors and has been studied both in animals and human rehabilitation.

x. Interference

The interference principle is that plasticity can cause changes in neural function, which may interfere with behaviors or skills.
Neuroplasticity Ergogenics:
Hormonal factors NGF, IGF
Amino Acids

Personal Observation: Somnabulistic Hypnosis & dreaming prove that neuroplasticity can in fact be practically instantaneous. Age related factors are largely determined by alterable physiological parameters such as growth factors, circulation & neurotransmitter levels.

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