23 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2021
    1. <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>LynneKelly </span> in "Ancient Australian Aboriginal Memory Tool Superior to ‘Memory Palace’ Learning" - Neuroscience, Psychology, and Health - Art of Memory Forum (<time class='dt-published'>10/19/2021 09:26:03</time>)</cite></small>

      I don’t think the methods were worked out as much as evolved with the human brain. I suspect those who started using mnemonics survived and bred better than those who didn’t.

      I have been pointed to this discovery of a Neanderthal cave many times, with archaeologists suggesting to me that it points to Neanderthal use of a memory palace. It would need more evidence to be convincing, but that would go back a very long time.

    1. I just bookmarked this article published today in Current Biology for later reading and annotation. While the article isn't specifically focused on memory, the fact that it touches on visual structures, emotion, music, and movement (dance) which are core to some peoples' memory toolkits, I thought that many here would find it to be of interest.

      One of the authors provided the following tl;dr synopsis:

      "Across the world, people express emotion through music and dance. But why do music and dance go together?

      We tested a deceptively simple hypothesis: Music and movement are represented the same way in the brain."

      For those who haven't integrated song or dance into their practices, searching around for the idea of songlines will give you some background on their possible uses.

      cc: @LynneKelly

    1. Visual and auditory brain areas share a representational structure that supports emotion perception https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(21)01283-5

      This portends some interesting results with relation to mnemonics and particularly songlines and indigenous peoples' practices which integrate song, movement, and emotion.

      Preprint: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/254961v4

      Across the world, people express emotion through music and dance. But why do music and dance go together? <br><br>We tested a deceptively simple hypothesis: Music and movement are represented the same way in the brain.

      — Beau Sievers (@beausievers) October 12, 2021
      <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

      <small><cite class='h-cite via'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Beau Sievers </span> in "New work published today in Current Biology Visual and auditory brain areas share a representational structure that supports emotion perception With @ThaliaWheatley @k_v_n_l @parkinsoncm @sergeyfogelson (thread after coffee!) https://t.co/AURqH9kNLb https://t.co/ro4o4oEwk5" / Twitter (<time class='dt-published'>10/12/2021 09:26:10</time>)</cite></small>

  2. Sep 2021
    1. Voice is lost

      Can we, like Shepherds, tell a merry Tale? Stephen Duck, The Thresher's Tale (poem)

      There's a link here to shepherds and a bardic tradition. In some sense, shepherds have lots of time to kill during the day and thus potentially tell stories. But they're also moving around their environment which also makes it easier for them to have used songline-like methods for attaching their memories to their environment.

      How far back might this tradition go in our literate culture?

      I also wonder at the influence of time on oral traditions as the result of this. Lynne Kelly describes calendrical devices in a variety of indigenous settings in Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies for potential use in annual spaced repetition. What about the spaced repetition within daily cycles of regular work as described in this paper with respect to shepherds, fishing communities, and crofting?

      The daily cycle of life may have been a part of the spaced repetition for memory.

      How might we show this?

      A quick example that comes to mind is the French children's song Alouette, Gentille Alouette which details how one kills, cleans, and dresses a chicken for cooking.

    1. One of the less developed ideas in The Extended Mind concerns the things we prioritize in tech development. Too often, Paul says, we think speed is the height of achievement. Instead, we need technology that builds off of our innate, human capacities.

      Perhaps we need more songlines in our instructional design?

      This is also a plea for a more humanistic approach to technology in general.

    2. Schools don’t teach students how to restore their depleted attention with exposure to nature and the outdoors, or how to arrange their study spaces so that they extend intelligent thought.

      I'm reminded of Lynne Kelly's use of Indigenous Australian memory techniques which do both of these things at the same time: https://www.lynnekelly.com.au/?p=4794

    3. Valorize motion, not sitting still.

      I wonder how much of our genetic programming is based on centuries of evolution with humans moving around their landscapes and attaching their memories to them?

      Within Lynne Kelly's thesis about stone circles, henges, etc. most of the locations have roads and entryways into them which require movement much less the idea of dancing and singing attached to memory performance as well.

  3. Aug 2021
    1. I would have seen memory palaces as a simplified version of songlines, but my Indigenous colleague has now pointed out that sometimes songlines are taught before the person goes on Country - that’s how they navigated: teach the songlines and you can then travel knowing where food sources and waterholes are. So my theory is falling down already. But the songline always involves movement (not always dance), song, narrative and a mesh of genres of information.

      Verification of the anecdotal evidence I mentioned before. Teaching of songlines without actually being on Country.

    2. It was today as I was doing Chinese vocabulary that it struck me. I tried to add words using the locations from memory because it was cold, and I didn’t want to go out. I know each of the houses in the songline, but adding vocabulary is way way easier when I walk and do the learning in the physical space. I couldn’t do it from home.

      I seem to recall reading anecdotes of aboriginal peoples who knew areas and water holes in places they'd never visited in their lives. I'm wondering how they may have encoded these in songlines for places they'd never been to and physically seen.

      It would seem that it's better to use a physical space when you have access to it, but I don't think I have as much issue adding things to pre-existing palaces/songlines as Kelly describes here. I wonder how this works out for others?

    3. I am beginning to think that the significant difference is that with songlines, learning is always done in the physical ‘memory palace’ which is constantly revisited. It can be recalled from memory, but is encoded in place. For me, that is way more effective, but I have aphantasia and very poor visualisation, so it may not be as big a factor for others. So recalling your childhood home can be a memory palace, but not a songline.

      Lynne Kelly is correct here that we need better delineations of the words we're using here.

      To some of us, we're taking historical methods and expanding them into larger super sets based on our personal experiences. I've read enough of Kelly's work and her personal experiences on her website (and that of many others) that I better understand the shorthand she uses when she describes pieces.

      Even in the literature throughout the middle ages and the Renaissance we see this same sort of picking and choosing of methods in descriptions of various texts. Some will choose to focus on one or two keys, which seemed to work for them, but they'd leave out the others which means that subsequent generations would miss out on the lost bits and pieces.

      Having a larger superset of methods to choose from as well as encouraging further explorations is certainly desired.

  4. Jun 2021
    1. One cannot hope thus to equal the speed and flexibility with which the mind follows an associative trail, but it should be possible to beat the mind decisively in regard to the permanence and clarity of the items resurrected from storage.

      the idea of an "[[associative trail]]" here brings to mind both the ars memorativa and the method of loci as well as--even more specifically--the idea of songlines.

      Bush's version is the same thing simply renamed.

      <small><cite class='h-cite ht'> <span class='p-author h-card'>Jeremy Dean</span> in Via: ‘What I Really Want Is Someone Rolling Around in the Text’ - The New York Times (<time class='dt-published'>06/09/2021 14:50:00</time>)</cite></small>

    1. In Plato’s Phaedrus, Socrates bemoaned the development of writing. He feared that, as people came to rely on the written word as a substitute for the knowledge they used to carry inside their heads, they would, in the words of one of the dialogue’s characters, “cease to exercise their memory and become forgetful.” And because they would be able to “receive a quantity of information without proper instruction,” they would “be thought very knowledgeable when they are for the most part quite ignorant.” They would be “filled with the conceit of wisdom instead of real wisdom.” Socrates wasn’t wrong—the new technology did often have the effects he feared—but he was shortsighted. He couldn’t foresee the many ways that writing and reading would serve to spread information, spur fresh ideas, and expand human knowledge (if not wisdom).

      I feel like Western culture has lost so much of our memory traditions that this trite story, which I've seen often repeated, doesn't have the weight it should.

      Why can't we simultaneously have the old system AND the new? Lynne Kelly and Margo Neale touch on this in their coinage of the third archive in Songlines.

  5. May 2021
    1. Lynne Kelly describes her experiences with some elementary school students using her rapscallions, songlines, and a woodhenge to memorize their math and social studies classwork and present it to their peers.

    1. I must stop equating songlines and memory palaces - the professor and student involved see the complexity of songlines as a level higher than memory palaces because so much knowledge and understanding is layered. The first post-grad working on my stuff, and she’s found fault already! And rightly so. They are also arguing against some researcher who claims that the peg system and the method of loci are equivalent. That is part of the research project, but I haven’t read the psychology papers they have sent yet.

      songlines != memory palaces

    1. No offense, but do you expect every professor to take a field trip with their class each lecture? Let’s be realistic here. How about the students get a workshop on it in the first week (and a book for all I care) and then learn to apply these techniques as they see fit outside the classroom.

      The article is about applying these techniques at the highest levels of education, at the point where the learners have already gone through 16+ years of intensive study. I wouldn't expect college professors to go on outings. But why not center these techniques and make them more mainstream at the lowest levels of education starting in kindergarten and for the first six years of formal education? Then they can become daily habits to make learning at the higher levels far easier.

      The interesting, and all-too-often ignored, feature of most colleges and universities is that they are on expansive campuses with large numbers of buildings, grounds, and surrounding neighborhoods which could specifically be used to create massive memory palaces or extended local songlines.

      Or not… some people prefer rote learning for certain actives

      Some may prefer rote memorization, though I don't personally know many who do, and I expect that most probably don't. This research study specifically underlines evidence that these Australian methods are easier and more "fun". The bigger issue is that the vast majority aren't presented with any options for alternate methods anywhere in their educations. I would suspect that the vast majority here in the forums are 15 years old or far beyond by the time they hear about these alternate methods.

      [...] others find “song, dance, painting” a little too new age to take it seriously… not passing judgement, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion and you certainly have yours. I feel as if you have, however, passed judgment and simultaneously denigrated them (in my opinion) by labeling them "new age". The research article itself states:

      The foremost consideration with respect to teaching of the Australian Aboriginal memory technique is the cultural safety aspect and respect for the peoples who developed this approach. In our program, the teaching of this program was administered by an experienced Australian Aboriginal Educator, who was able to integrate the method into our teaching program, while simultaneously preventing several breaches of cultural etiquette and terminology which could easily have compromised the material had it been delivered by a non-Australian Aboriginal educator (TY), however well-intentioned.

      They're specifically mentioning here the lack of respect and attention (usually from Westerners, which I suspect includes you) that these methods are given outside of their home culture. I would suggest that you don't value these approaches because they weren't centered or focused on in your own cultural education. As a result you're missing out on the value they do contain, of which the research study under discussion provides direct peer reviewed evidence. Incidentally the metrical system you wish were centered is exactly the sort of technique that is already built into many indigenous systems and was very likely even embedded into ancient Greek culture, but it has long since disappeared and was nearly completely snuffed out by (religious) Western education reformers in the late 1500's.

      I'd recommend looking at Dr. Lynne Kelly's texts The Memory Code: The Secrets of Stonehenge, Easter Island and Other Ancient Monuments (Pegasus, 2017) and Songlines: The Power and Promise (First Knowledges) (Thames & Hudson, 2020) (with Dr. Margo Neale) for more details on some of these cultural traditions which have a more nuanced and respectful approach.

      Too often here in these forums, and in life, people treat these these mnemonic techniques as "clever hacks", when, for many current and past cultures, they were a literal way of both life and survival.

      Let’s face it, be it law school, med school, or b-school… students manage to graduate with or without techniques at the moment, so it’s not like we desperately need memory techniques in higher education.

      This is an incredibly privileged perspective. Sure these students do manage to graduate, but you're also looking a minuscule proportion of the most highly educated people on the planet. For perspective, in 2018–2019, 21,622 applicants were accepted to allopathic (MD) medical schools out of the 52,777 who applied, for an overall acceptance rate of 41% in the United States. The accepted people represent roughly 0.0003 percent of the world's population. This number doesn't get much bigger (or rosier) when you expand the population to those in all graduate schools world wide.

      I've got several hundred friends and acquaintances who did either MDs or combined MD/Ph.D. programs and very few would say their studies were easy. Why not make it easier? Why not make these methods more widespread? Why not provide them to everyone? Imagine the number who could have not only an easier time, but greater knowledge, (and more fun!)? Very few of the practicing physicians I know could still diagram the TCA-cycle described in the paper, but if you could have a more knowledgeable physician treat you, wouldn't you want that? Wouldn't you want a more educated and happier society all around?

      …I’d call that stone garden a “memory palace.” Is there an outdoor element or something that memory palaces supposedly don’t have? I really don’t get how this is different. I use outdoor memory palaces all the time

      The stone garden certainly is a memory palace for those who wish to use it that way. However, from the Australian Aboriginal perspective, there are additional layers of narrative, movement, (and potentially song, dance, and art, etc.) layered on top of it to enrich the experience. It's unfortunate that the paper doesn't go deeper into the subtleties or differences, but they're also making at least some attempt to show respect to the culture from which the technique stems. This is a place where Drs. Kelly and Neale's Songlines text may help provide additional depth and perspective, though even it would be limited in comparison with embedding yourself within a culture to have indigenous elders to teach you directly.

    2. As someone who knows both methods and has likely practiced them in reasonable depth, I'm curious what Dr. @LynneKelly thinks. I'd love to see this same study done to include song, dance, painting, etc. to expand the potential effects.

      If nothing else, it's good to see some positive research on the methods which will hopefully draw more attention to the pedagogy and classroom use.

      Dr. Reser said the Monash School of Rural Health is considering incorporating these memory tools into the medical curriculum once teaching returns to a post-COVID normal. “This year we hope to offer this to students as a way to not only facilitate their learning but to reduce the stress associated with a course that requires a lot of rote learning,” he said. —https://scitechdaily.com/ancient-australian-aboriginal-memory-tool-superior-to-memory-palace-learning-technique/

    1. It is thus argued that early exposure to the Australian Aboriginal approach to pedagogy in a respectful, culturally safe manner, has the potential to benefit medical students and their patients.

      Forget medical students and patients, this could broadly be applied to everyone everywhere! Why limit it to simply medical education?

    2. This study reveals several subtle, but important advantages for teaching of the Australian Aboriginal memorization method as compared to the more widely known memory palace technique. In particular the Australian Aboriginal method seems better suited to teaching in a single, relatively short instruction period. This is evidenced by the increased probability of obtaining complete recall of the target list after a 20 minute teaching period, and the pronounced improvement in correct sequencing of information which was observed compared to the memory palace approach.

      Here's the tl;dr version of the study:

      Australian Aboriginal memorization methods >> Western method of loci methods

    3. Both methods of loci improved upon the already high level of recall among medical students relative to those who received no memory training.

      I'm saddened to see the erasure of the Australian Aboriginal approach (possibly better termed Songlines or Dreaming for specificity) here only to have it lumped into the Western method. This is worse when their general results show the Australian approach to be significantly better.

      This may be due to over-familiarity with the techniques which are broadly similar, but for rigor and respect they should remain separate in this paper.

    4. students found both the training and the technique enjoyable, interesting, and more useful than rote memorization.

      Good news on all measures.

  6. gordonbrander.com gordonbrander.com
    1. There are rumors Pascal wrote the Pensées on notecards, and pinned these cards to a wall, connecting related thoughts with yarn. An early example of hypertext?

      This certainly fits into the broad general ideas surrounding note taking, commonplace books, and zettelkasten as tools for thought. People generally seemed to have used relatively similar methods but shoehorned them into the available tools they had at the time.

      This also, incidentally isn't too far off from how indigenous peoples the world over have used memory techniques (memory palaces, songlines, etc.) to hold together and pollinate their own thinking.

      Raymond Llull took things a step further with his combinatoric methods, though I've yet to see anyone attempting that in the area of digital gardens.

  7. Oct 2020
    1. ...conversations take random walks through events and ideas in a manner determined by the associative networks of the participants." --Douglas Hofstadter, Foreward, Sparse Distributed Memory

      This is reminiscent of Zegnat's mention during the Gardens and Streams session of remembering where things were in the IndieWeb wiki by remembering the pathways more so than the things themselves. This is very reminiscent of Australian songlines.