Build a Mental Agility Exercise Program

KEY CONCEPTS

Distractions and Attention Information-Storing Preferences Information-Retrieval Strategies Information-Processing Activities

80 • Chapter 4 INTRODUCTION

You learned in earlier chapters how exercising your brain can improve your intellectual ability. In this chapter, we'll introduce you to basic storage and retrieval techniques that you can use as part of your mental-agility exercise program. More advanced variations of these techniques and exercises are presented in greater detail in Chapters 6, "Regain an Agile Brain," and 7, "Enjoy Your Ageless Mental Agility."

Mental exercises can take many forms: brain teasers, games, puzzles, bridge, going back to school, and more. Learning something new, whether in a formal school setting or independently, is an excellent exercise. Distinct areas of the brain are activated as you graduate from a novice to a more experienced level in mastery of a technique or subject. Figure 4-1 is a PET scan that demonstrates the various areas of the brain that are energized and exercised when a linguistic technique is introduced. The subject is observed while still a novice and unpracticed, versus when he or she is experi-

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Figure 4-1 PET scan of brain activity of novice compared to expert enced and practiced. Notice that as you become familiar with a topic, the area of the brain being used will change. Remember from the first two chapters, though, that the areas of the brain that are activated depend on what you are learning and how you are going about learning it.

Remember when you last learned something new? Perhaps it was learning a new dance step, making a new recipe, or trying to use a new piece of equipment. Try to think of that last thing you learned. Check as many as apply to you.

Did you have to:

_Learn new words?

_Memorize anything?

_Look up information?

_Ask someone for information?

_Practice anything?

_____Explain what you learned to someone else?

Was it:

_Hard to learn?

_Easy to learn?

Were you:

_Fascinated?

_Fearful?

Initially, you probably had to exert a lot of effort and concentration. People who are learning a new dance step, for example, find that it takes a great deal of concentration at the beginning. As you mastered the topic of interest, you likely required less conscious effort. Notice in Figure 4-1 how the PET scan demonstrates a decrease in the energy required to perform the task as the subject became more expert and comfortable with the technique. The subject's brain became more efficient—the same as your brain becomes more efficient as you become more expert.

As you became more interested in the subject, did you talk to other people about your newest interest and get their input? Perhaps you searched out information to make you more knowledgeable in the same topic or a related one. The benefits are quite broad. By talking to others, you exercise other areas of your brain, such as the intrapersonal or linguistic area. You also might have branched into other areas, such as the right hemisphere for a touch of imagination to become more innovative, or perhaps tapped into your spatial abilities.

In this section of the book, we are going to present various strategies to process information and learn something new. Be aware that by practicing these techniques in a learning situation, you are exercising many regions of the brain. You might feel rusty in the beginning, but remember that as you practice, the activity shifts into other areas of the brain, and you become more efficient as you become more practiced and relaxed. You wouldn't want to exercise only one area of your body, so be sure that you practice all the following techniques in various types of learning situations and exercise all of your brain. Also be sure to discuss and practice these techniques with your friends and family and exercise those linguistic, intrapersonal, and interpersonal skills.

INFORMATION PROCESSING

Information processing describes an active method for learning something new. It is very easy to allow new information to pass us by. It takes a dynamic analysis of the information to make sense of it—to move it from short-term to long-term memory. You must make the new information meaningful for your brain so that the ideas will become important enough to make their way to long-term memory. In this chapter, you will learn how to work with information so that you can better remember it.

When we were young, we preferred to use one hand more often than the other. Over time, we became skilled with that hand and rarely used the other hand except for balance or coordination with our dominant hand. We can perform gross motor skills with the other hand, such as opening a door or petting an animal. Without thinking about it, we simply use our dominant hand. Some people who have lost function in their dominant hand find that, with practice, they can become facile with their less-dominant hand. Their handwriting may never be as clear with the new hand, but it can be understood.

So it is with our preferred learning styles. Early on, we all found the best way for us to learn and, without thinking about it, applied that style to every situation. In Chapter 1, you learned what your dominant learning preference is, while in Chapter 2, you evaluated your natural intelligences. In this chapter you will explore supplementary ways to learn and how to develop your less-dominant learning styles and increase your use of the other intelligences. This information will provide you with a wide spectrum of fresh tricks to use when trying to learn something new!

You can assess your current information-processing skills before reading this chapter by taking the preassessment that follows. Then, after reading about how to learn more efficiently and practicing your new skills, you may reassess your processing ability with the postassessment at the end of this chapter.

INFORMATION-PROCESSING PREASSESSMENT

Directions: Read the following paragraphs. Then answer 10 questions about the information regarding Figure 4-2.

Suppose you are going to run some errands. You should drive to these places, because some have drive-in windows and you will have much to carry. You need to take six shirts and a suit to the cleaners, pick up shoes at the shoe repair, and get two birthday cards at the drugstore where you have to pick up a prescription.

ity park ity park

Gas station

Figure 4-2

Your wristwatch is repaired and ready for pickup. You also need to get bread, ice cream, bananas, rice, and soup at the grocery store. You made a list, but somehow it got lost along the way. Your sister is waiting for you to pick her up at Ruth's beauty shop. You'd better get going. The bank closes at 2:30 today, and you have to deposit your check.

Now answer the following questions, being sure not to look back at the information just reviewed.

Questions

1. What do you need at the grocery store?.

2. Who is waiting at the beauty shop?_

3. Did you need to go to the post office?_

4. What is the name of the beauty shop owner?

5. What do you need to drop off at the cleaners?

6. What other places do you need to visit?_

Gas station

Which is closer to the post office, the bank or the drugstore?_

Develop a Brawny Brain • 85 8. What do you need from the hardware store?_

9. Do you need to drop off the shoes at the shoe repair?

10. What do you need at the drugstore?

After you complete the questionnaire, check your answers at the end of this chapter in "Solutions to Exercises and Games."

This is a very difficult exercise. Don't be discouraged if you couldn't answer every question. In the following sections, you will learn techniques for improving your ability to work with exercises similar to these. Move ahead with the notion that you are collecting new tools, looking for new ways to a solution, and listening for new tips.

DISTRACTIONS AND ATTENTION

It is vitally important to the learning process that we pay attention and do not allow ourselves to be distracted from the information we are trying to process. We are trying to get this information from short-term memory (STM) to long-term memory (LTM), and this requires the brain to restructure. (See Chapter 2 for details.)

Let's take, for example, the seemingly simple but amazingly complex task of learning another person's name as we are introduced. Many people are quite eager (and seemingly proud) to announce that they cannot remember people's names even if they have just been introduced. They can acknowledge that an introduction has taken place, but they have no recollection of the name of the person. Often, the problem is easy to diagnose. At the instant of an introduction, the person's name is in the sensory store. We should be making efforts to pass the person's name to STM and on to LTM. And indeed we are concentrating, but not necessarily on the name. Pressures in our culture divert our attention from the person we are meeting. This distraction may arise from our need to present ourselves well and make a good impression during the introduction. We also may be trying to be polite and pay attention to what the other person is saying. The little niceties and good manners are taking our attention away from the information we want to save. Whatever the reason, many people do not move the new person's name from the sensory store to LTM simply because they have not paid enough attention to exactly what they want to transfer. This is one example of intense concentration used incorrectly.

There are strategies to help you pay more attention at the moment of the introduction. You might use your preferred learning style to help learn the name. If you are a visual learner, you might want to visualize the name on a theater marquee. Asking a woman about the spelling of her name gives more attention to the name. For example, there are a va-

Tillie finally retired from the orange juice factory. She just couldn't concentrate.

riety of ways to spell Kathy: Cathy, Kathi, Cathie, and others. An auditory learner might want to repeat the person's name aloud or find a rhyme to the name. One of our friends uses pretzel to remind him of Wetzel. Linking the name to a physical object helps kinesthetic learners. A name such as Harmeyer contains an arm and an eye. Looking for these 3D representations of a name helps a kinesthetic learner pay attention.

Once you have your attention focused on a person, it may help to create a mental picture of the person. Associating her name with another person or group will help. For example, if her name is common, link it to people with the same or similar names whom you already know. Using the person's name as soon as possible and often during the first conversation will help you store the name. However, too much of a good thing might annoy your new acquaintance. So go easy!

If you realize that you are easily distracted, and you know the introduction is coming, you can start noticing characteristics of the person as you walk over. Practice the name and the mechanisms you are going to use to remember the name after the conversation is over and you are moving away from each other. In other words, you select as much as possible the time you are concentrating in order to avoid as many distractions as possible. You also might tell people at the end of the conversation that you are learning to remember names and give your own name again. People usually are relieved and repeat their own name as you say your good-byes. You can practice as you leave and are less distracted by the conversation.

You may not feel that introductions are the most important concern in your life. And indeed, they may not be unless you are very active socially or introductions are a business concern. But regardless of the learning situation, you need to be in control as much as possible in order to limit the number of distractions as you try to process information. Remember the discussion in Chapter 3 regarding the environment and distractions? Be sure you are truly focusing on the material you want to transfer to LTM.

After the name gets into your brain, how can you be sure you can get it out when you need it at a later meeting? Reconstructing the scene where you learned her name may help jog your memory. Look carefully at her face in case you associated a feature with her name. Try not to get upset. Some enzymes block your synaptic activity under stress. Give yourself enough time to recall her name. Don't set the goal that you must say "Hello ..." using her name. If you relax, the name may come to you during the conversation, and you can use it then.

You can use these techniques for introductions in many other situations. Try to implement a few of these recommendations to help you concentrate. In the meantime, we have a few exercises for you to try.

Visual Concentration

To improve your visual concentration, look at a scene in a room, outside, or in a magazine. Look for about 30 seconds, concentrating on what you see. At the end of the 30 seconds, turn away or close your eyes and try to remember everything you saw in the scene. Repeat this exercise with another scene. Practice this often. It's a good game to play while waiting for someone. Notice how your ability to recall more items in the scene improves as you play more often.

Auditory Concentration

This is a game two or more people can play to develop their auditory concentration skills. It's called "I'm shopping!" To play, choose someone to go first. The first person says "I'm shopping for ..." and names an object. The next person repeats what the first person says and adds a product. Keep playing while people can keep up with the complete list, and restart the game when someone forgets a product. Remember to have fun with this game. If someone who is playing forgets often, let that person go second. That way, the player can build on success more easily.

Kinesthetic Concentration

This is a game that will help you improve your concentration skills and have fun at the same time. You will need a regular deck of cards. Start with two suits: one red suit and one black suit. Add the two jokers. You will have 28 cards, two of each number and face card. Shuffle the cards. Place them face down in four rows of seven cards, as shown in Figure 4-3.

Turn over two cards at a time. If they are the same numbers, remove them from the game. If they are not the same numbers, remember what the numbers are, and turn them face down again. Continue until you have removed all pairs from the game. This game also can be played by two or more players. When one player fails to produce a pair, the next player takes over. As your concentration improves, add the rest of the deck to the game and draw four cards at a time. Visit the Web site associated with this book, www.mentalagility.com, to play an interactive version of this game.

Figure 4-3 Kinesthetic Concentration Game

If you do not have a deck of cards, you might use dominos or 3-by-5-inch cards and write facts on them that you are trying to master.

INFORMATION-STORING PREFERENCES

Many people have developed clever strategies to help them learn new information. The following sections are structured so that you can discover new strategies. You may recognize some of them as ones you use already. In each of the sections, you will be told what skill you are exercising and how the activity will improve your ability to process information.

Researchers found that when the presentation of information and testing format match, performance increases. This means that if you are going to have to write something, practice writing; if you are going to have to say it, practice talking; if you are going to have to do something, practice doing it.

Rehearsal

The information-storing technique of rehearsal borrows its name from the theater. Actors and actresses use the repetition of material when learning their lines, aloud or silently, until they commit those lines to memory. Some people copy and then recopy the lines. The entire cast rehearses the play often so that everyone will remember what to do when they are performing the show.

You may have used rehearsal to remember a phone number by repeating it from the time you looked it up in the telephone book until you dialed it. This moved it from your sensory store—reading it in the phone book—to your short-term memory. The memory persisted long enough to let you dial the number. However, because it had no special meaning attached to it, the phone number didn't make it to long-term memory (LTM). If the phone number is an important number (your mother's new telephone number, for example), you may want to take steps to promote its move to LTM. Re-

"To be at the doctor's appointment at 10:30 a.m. or not to be at the dinner party at 6:00 p.m."

hearsal can help. Reading the number over and over may help (visual learning style). Saying the number aloud repeatedly may help (auditory learning style). Writing the number repeatedly or dialing the number repeatedly also may help (kinesthetic learning style). You may discover that you use rehearsal techniques quite often. Some examples include directions to someone's home or business, items to purchase at the store, or errands to run.

Repetition Priming

Repetition priming is a technical phrase for what you have experienced if you can sing the jingle "See the USA in your Chevrolet!" or if you remember that Nancy Reagan wanted us to "Just Say No!" Repetition priming goes along with rehearsal because the repeated hearing or seeing of information increases your recall of that information. The repetition, however, may not be conscious. You may be unaware of the

number of times you hear or see a fact or notion. This is the advantage of advertising. We remember what we hear and see over and over and over. You may need a map or a set of directions to visit a friend's home for the first time. After a few visits, however, you can find the way without the map or directions. You may not have made a conscious determination to learn the way to her home, but the repetition helped you learn the way.

A research study was performed in which tapes of word associations were played to patients who were anesthetized for surgery (with their prior consent). Testing later demonstrated that the patients had subliminally heard the tapes.1 This test also demonstrates the importance of talking to patients who are unconscious, especially in an uplifting, encouraging manner. It also may explain why associating with someone who constantly belittles you can seep into your subconscious and then into your conscious mind, affecting your attitude toward yourself. If you are trying to learn a new language, it helps to play tapes of people speaking the language. You can turn this technique to your advantage.

Repetition Priming ADvantage

This game emphasizes the power of repetition priming. Write in the blank next to each slogan the name of the touted product. Check your answers at the end of this chapter in "Solutions to Exercises and Games."

1. It's 99 and 44/ioo percent pure_

2. The foaming cleanser _

5. And away go troubles down the drain _

8. The real mayonnaise _

9. Fly the friendly skies. _

10. When you care enough to send the very best _

11. We do chicken right._

13. The breakfast of champions_

14. Tony the tiger says it's GREAT! _

You may not have heard some of these slogans for many years; yet you recognize them and can match them with their products. The power of repetition priming is that your brain creates many connections to information from simply hearing it over and over and over.

To understand how powerful this repetition-priming mechanism is, repeat this exercise with the products you remembered and write down the current marketing slogans.

Did you notice that the older slogans are more easily recalled? That is the signature of repetition priming. Once you've "got it," the information, however valuable, is there for a very long time without a conscious effort at memorization on your part.

Imaging

If you are a visual learner, you probably create visual images automatically to help you remember information. The image may contain words or objects, but you can see the information in your mind. If your dominant learning style is not visual, you can learn to create these images. Practice on a grocery list. Try to learn the items on that list. Imagine yourself in the food store, walking down the aisles to locate the items. See yourself picking up an item and putting it into the grocery cart. Repeat this for each of the items.

When you get to the store, you may use visual images to "see" your kitchen and remember what you need to buy. Buying clothes for someone else, you use your visual/spatial abilities to imagine the person, his size, and how the shirt you are holding will fit and look on him. Looking at the plans for a new house or the pattern for a new dress also requires exercising your spatial capabilities.

For some people, distractions inhibit their ability to create images. Concentrate on the information so that it is in

your sensory store. It helps to close your eyes and try to see the information in your mind. If a natural image does not present itself, create an image of your own. The more unusual the visual image, the more likely you will be able to recall it. Suppose that you are looking for a new car. You are trying to remember the features of one automobile over another. See each car in your mind with the features dancing in and out of the car.

If you are not accustomed to making a mental image whenever new information presents itself, this exercise will help you learn how to do that. For each of the following questions, try to imagine what the referenced object looks like. To increase your kinesthetic skill, move your body to respond to these questions. For example, if you are asked to identify the direction in which you turn a doorknob, use your hands to help create a mental image of yourself actually turning the knob. In each case, your creation of the mental image is far more important than the correct answer. However, for those of us who just need to know whether we are right, the answers are listed at the end of this chapter in "Solutions to Exercises and Games."

Imagine That

Create a mental picture to answer the following questions. Imaging Questions

1. On the touch-tone telephone keypad, where is the # key?_

2. On the head of a tiger, are the ears above, even with, or below the nose?_

3. How many tines does a dinner fork have?_

4. On each M&M's candy piece, there is a stamped letter. Is it a lowercase letter or an uppercase letter?_

5. To turn on a lamp, do you turn the knob clockwise or counterclockwise?__

6. To unlock a door, do you turn the key clockwise or counterclockwise?_

7. To open a jar, do you twist the lid clockwise or counterclockwise? _

8. Speaking of clocks, where is the hour hand at 7:30?

9. In what direction do you turn a light bulb to remove it?

10. On the waning moon, from the full moon to the new moon, which side of the moon is bright, the left or the right?_

11. To open a door, in which direction do you turn the knob—toward the doorjamb or away from the door-jamb? _

12. When you open a peanut shell, how many peanuts do you usually find?_

13. At the dinner table, on what side of the plate is the knife?_

14. Draw the symbol for a pharmacy._

15. On a computer keyboard or on a standard typewriter, where are the number keys?_

16. On a hand calculator, is the 1 key on the top row of number keys or on the bottom? _

17. On the telephone touch pad, is the 1 key on the top row of number keys or on the bottom?_

18. On the ATM touch pad, is the 1 key on the top row of number keys or on the bottom? _

19. In the alphabet, what is the first uppercase letter printed without a straight line? _

20. In the alphabet, what is the last uppercase letter printed without a straight line? _

If you have strong kinesthetic tendencies, you might have used your hands to help you visualize these situations.

If you have strong auditory tendencies, you might have read these sentences aloud to help you form visual images.

Coding

Coding is the creation of a mnemonic or catch phrase that associates material with something that is already familiar. The more complex the material, the more likely coding or imagery should be used as a memory technique.

Some people find success associating a list of items with a mnemonic device. In grade school, for example, we learned that the first letters of the Great Lakes could be rearranged to spell the word HOMES (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior). To remember the names, we just needed to remember HOMES. When we need to remember the names of the lakes, we also remember the mnemonic. We then can use it to reconstruct the original list. A link to a song or poem also is helpful. You may have learned the alphabet to the strains of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and the number of days in each month with the poem 30 Days Hath September. Rosemary Austin, an intellectually active senior, remembers her license plate, 642 BBW, with the device that the numbers are reverse counting by twos and the letters represent Better Be Wary.

Connections that you make will be stored in your memory along with the ideas you are trying to remember. The more connections we have to a fact, the easier it is to retrieve it later. The curious thing about making associations with mnemonics is that the time and mental energy we put into developing them generally is enough prestorage processing that we tend to remember the original ideas. This extra concentration alerts the brain that this information is important, and with that added meaning, the memory is more likely to be stored permanently.

Demonic Mnemonics

In this exercise, you will practice decoding mnemonics. This should give you some ideas of how to create mnemonics of your own. Check your answers at the end of this chapter in "Solutions to Exercises and Games."

Match each mnemonic in the left column to its description in the right column. (Place the letter from column 2 in the blank next to its mnemonic.)

Mnemonic

1 ._A rat in the house might eat the ice cream.

3 ._Say, I like a cuppa aspartame in drinks.

4 ._Please excuse my dearAunt Sally.

6 ._All animals play instruments.

7 ._Some chaps think Da

Vinci painted portraits and angels.

8 ._When a jury makes miscreants angry, justice very happily triumphs.

9 ._AAA goes Anywhere and

Everywhere, North and South.

10._Divorced, beheaded, died.

divorced, beheaded, survived.2

Represented by Mnemonic a. Order of operations on a hand calculator: parentheses, exponents, multiply and divide, add and subtract.

b. The fate of Henry VIII's six wives.

c. The choirs of angels: Seraphim, Cherubim,Thrones, Dominations,Virtues, Powers, Principalities,Archangels, and Angels.

d. 3.1415926, first eight digits of n.

e. Oceans of the world:Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific, and Indian.

f. Spelling of arithmetic.

g. Washington,Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe,Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Tyler.

h. Colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

i. The seven deadly sins: greed, avarice, gluttony, sloth, anger, lust, and envy.

j. The continents:Asia,Africa, Australia,Antarctica, Europe, North America, and South America.

Hierarchies

Making connections between bits of information tends to help us retrieve that information faster and more completely with less effort than that expended trying to recall disassociated memories. Organizing the memories into groups of people or things, by class, type, or rank helps to make more

Figure 4-4 Animal hierarchy

connections. There is efficiency in hierarchies that help us make connections. Consider the feline family in Figure 4-4. There are similarities among the members of that group of animals. What we know about a lion, for example, tells us many things about a domestic pet: its coat is fur, its face has whiskers, its movement is sleek and silent, and more. By connecting a person or object with a group, we do not have to make a long list of details about the new object. We allow the object to inherit the qualities of the group, which we already have stored in our memories.

Many groups have an inherent ranking system. The Armed Forces, for example, are organized into a very structured ranking system where varying layers of officers take orders from and give orders to other soldiers in other strata in the ranks. In the Army, the generals are at the top. The succeeding ranks of commissioned officers include Colonel, Major, Captain, and Lieutenant. The higher the rank, the more privileges and the more responsibility the officer bears. There are common features to all of the ranks.

Rank Has Its Privilege

This exercise provides practice in your new skill of noting rank within a hierarchy.

Suppose that you are going to the grocery store and have to buy the following items: eggs, bread, lettuce, milk, broccoli, oranges, and sugar. Group the items in an upper level of a hierarchy. After you decide on a proper hierarchy for these foods, cover up this page and write the items in a list in the order you determined.

Solution: You could put them in a number of hierarchies.

1. You might use the groups formed by the Food Guide Pyramid in Figure 4-5. Sugar belongs at the top in the use sparingly category. Next, group the eggs and milk in the meat and dairy group. The third level is fruits and vegetables. Put broccoli, oranges, and lettuce in that group. The bottom of the pyramid is for breads. So, you need sugar, two meat and dairy, three fruit and vegetables, and one bread.

2. You might employ the hierarchy based on the layout of your grocery store. Group the items by the aisle in which they are stacked: milk and eggs at the dairy counter; lettuce, broccoli, and oranges in the produce aisle; bread in the bakery; and sugar in the seasoning aisle. So, you need two dairy, three produce, one bakery, and one seasoning.

The Food Guide Pyramid

A guide to daily food choices

Key o Fat (naturally occurring and added) V Sugars (added) These symbols show fat and added sugars in foods.

Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, & nuts group 2-3 servings

The Food Guide Pyramid

A guide to daily food choices

Meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, & nuts group 2-3 servings

Fruit group 2-4 servings

Bread, cereal, rice, & pasta group

6-11 servings

Figure 4-5 The Food Guide Pyramid

Fruit group 2-4 servings

Bread, cereal, rice, & pasta group

6-11 servings

Figure 4-5 The Food Guide Pyramid

You may have decided on another appropriate hierarchy. The decision on a proper rank and then the arrangement of the items into that rank is the key to this new skill.

Determining the framework of the rank helps you concentrate more on the items in the list while you find an appropriate ranking scheme. That alone will aid you in trying to remember them.

Follow-up: Repeat this exercise with items you have on a shopping list in your home.

If It Looks Like a Duck and Walks Like a Duck...

This exercise provides practice in the notion that items in a hierarchy inherit properties from the higher-ranked objects. In the following game, you will practice identifying a common class to which a set of objects belong.

For each of the following collections, name a larger class to which all items belong:

1. _collies, schnauzers, scotties, retrievers

5. _bookkeeper, sleeper, Aaron, nook, muumuu, Hawaii

6. _Des Moines, Albany, Salem, Austin,

Tallahassee

7. _turnip, carrot, beet, potato, rutabaga

Bob, noon

9. _knife, blade, scarf, purse, table

10. _birds, airplanes, angels, hospitals

11. _records, games, pianos, doctor, the stock market

12. _newspapers, tea leaves, palms, books, signs

Humpty Dumpty, year, river, wig-maker refrigerator, nose, jogger, stockings envelopes, oceans, the president, Good Housekeeping™ magazine

Check your answers at the end of this chapter in "Solutions to Exercises and Games."

Follow-up: Now that you have the hang of it, make up collections of your own.

Follow-up: Play ANIMAL, a game of hierarchy. You can find this interactive game on the Ageless Mental Agility Web site at www.mentalagility.com. You can download the program to play with your family or play it online.

Chunking

Grouping items in a long list helps to reduce the number of items in the list. This technique is known as chunking. This helps to make a long list shorter, thereby reducing the number of items you need to remember. Chunking helps you remember telephone numbers. Each 10-digit telephone number is divided into three parts: the three-digit area code, the three-digit exchange office, and the four-digit line number. To remember a 10-digit telephone number, try chunking the area code and the exchange. Then you only have to remember the four-digit line number. For example, you can reduce the number 410-727-9416 to six items by remembering that 410 is a Maryland area code and 727 is a downtown Baltimore exchange. Recall only MD, Baltimore, 9416—six items! Now this won't help much in you live in an area other than Baltimore and don't know the area code and common exchanges to help you. You will have to personalize these examples in the book to match your situations.

Here is another example of chunking. For a Los Angeles phone number, you can chunk one of the area codes, 714, into Joe Friday's badge number from the detective show Dragnet. You also may chunk patterns in a telephone number. The number 202-555-1212 is directory assistance for Manhattan. Remember that 202 is a palindrome (the same number reading forward and backward), the exchange is all fives, and the line is two 12s. Remember that what we show are only examples. The brainwork necessary to adapt these exercises to your telephone area is good exercise!

INFORMATION-RETRIEVAL STRATEGIES

Information is power, but you must have the information when you need it. In fact, managing information systems is a major undertaking in any business. Keeping information

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