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 Post subject: Mind trick wanted
Post #1 Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:01 am 
Oza

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On the assumption you can teach an old dog new tricks, I'm looking for one that go players may know about.

I find that, quite often, as I am about to play some music, do a dance, do a form in taiji, or when I try to remember a go game or joseki, I hit a brick wall at the very start. I just cannot remember how it starts. But once prompted, I can sail through the rest of the exercise. At other times I have no problem remembering how the same things start, but I have no idea why the brick wall appears and disappears so mysteriously.

I also find that I share this irritating condition with very many people. Some people use cribs or just rely on other group members. Most of the usual memory association tricks seem difficult to apply to music notes or dance figures. Part of the problem there is the starting element is not just one word, one step, one move or whatever but a non-verbal or non-pictorial phrase or sequence, and representing that phrase or sequence as an association can be quite taxing.

Anyone know if this condition has name? I assume it's similar to the tip-of-the-tongue syndrome. More importantly, what strategies do you use to demolish the brick wall?


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 Post subject: Re: Mind trick wanted
Post #2 Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 10:40 am 
Judan

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When I am recording my games from memory the first 4 moves are often the hardest to remember. So I mentally picture the later stages of the game and work backwards to derive the corner moves ("if we ended up with this shape it must have been a 3-4 pointing this way").

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 Post subject: Re: Mind trick wanted
Post #3 Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:55 am 
Judan

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I don't know the name for the condition you are talking about. And, as far as joseki are concerned, their name generally tells me the initial moves. {shrug}

There is a trick to memorizing long games or poems, which is to break them up and to learn them first in shuffled order. For instance, you might memorize the last ⅓ of a game, then the middle ⅓, then the beginning ⅓. You already have hints to the latter, because most of the stones in the first ⅔ of a game are on the board when you start memorizing the last ⅓.

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Post #4 Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:17 pm 
Honinbo
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Moonwalking with Einstein

To go up in a monologue, alone, on stage in front of a live audience is a fate I wouldn't wish upon anyone. ( Esp. a Shakespeare soliloquy :blackeye: ) People have all kinds of tricks ( techniques ; e.g. Bill's overlearning is vital ). Part of the great fun is to come up with them to begin with.

Some research found out a surprising element (to some at least) to help with memorization: say you have a "boring" lecture -- they found out, without changing the contents or delivery, simply by moving the class to a different location helped! ( That is, in addition to the repetition of delivering the same materials. ) The theory is that the brain is somehow very good at filtering out the unimportant from the important: so by exposing it to the same materials, but with different "background noise," it helped with memory.

Example: for a difficult physical sequence ( dance, taiji, etc. ), just rotating the body at the start ( to face a different direction ) helps. Repeat the sequence at the beach. On rocky ground. On a slope. On a slippery floor. Etc.

Another "stress" test: if a monologue takes 2 minutes at "performance pace", make sure you can deliver it accurately, 100% verbatim, in 30 seconds. ( As fast as you can speed through A to Z! ) The same goes with all the lines in the entire play. :blackeye:


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 Post subject: Re: Mind trick wanted
Post #5 Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:59 pm 
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I read a book on memory techniques awhile ago, and it seems that most of the techniques had a common thread: make what you are memorizing have meaning - or be interesting in some way. Sometimes this meant thinking of numbers in terms of letters to form sentences; sometimes this meant making a story involving the group of objects you wanted to recall. But always, it seemed to mean making what you were trying to understand more vivid and interesting in a sometimes exaggerated way.

I know a 6d go player who I always enjoy watching him review his games. He is incredibly entertaining. He'll use exciting adjectives to describe his opponent's play - he'll yell about how he was fighting back with his daring hane (which, to me, looked like a run of the mill hane). He'll describe vividly the struggle between him and his opponent, even if his opponent is weaker and probably only thought of a fraction of the aspects this 6d was describing.

I thought about how it is that this guy can give such entertaining commentary on his games. Part of me thinks it's due to the depth of his reading .

But part of me thinks that the depth of his reading may be attributed to the entertainment of his commentary: with such an exciting adventure going on in his head, who wouldn't remember it?

Make it exaggeratedly interesting. Then you'll remember it.

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Post #6 Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:02 pm 
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Quote:
how it is that this guy can give such entertaining commentary
Another huge part is their personality, and communication skills. :)

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Post #7 Posted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 6:30 pm 
Honinbo

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EdLee wrote:
Quote:
how it is that this guy can give such entertaining commentary
Another huge part is their personality, and communication skills. :)


Agree. Though, for communication to occur, the thought has to start in somebody's head first!

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 Post subject: Re: Mind trick wanted
Post #8 Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:37 am 
Oza

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Though, for communication to occur, the thought has to start in somebody's head first!


Thanks, guys. It's all very entertaining and keep it all coming, but can I just stress again that - as Kirby has noted - it's specifically the starting point I'm interested in.

I generally have a very good memory apart from that, and do often use tricks (though a couple above were new to me). Making what has to be remembered lively and entertaining is indeed a common trick, but I find that having to do that for yet another password drives me up the wall and I try to avoid it. Maybe that's the problem - simple lack of discipline. But I still have a hunch that there's something extra special about the starting point.

Learning part B then C and only then A is something I've tried, though only in music. It seems to work in helping to memorise the whole piece (I'm guessing it's because part B may often be the most interesting portion), but then I can easily forget how part B starts.

There was a famous pianist called Walter Gieseking who could memorise a whole symphony on a plane trip just by studying the score. In a book he described his method, which was essentially to look for patterns - not necessarily ones he already knew, but also things like a couple of phrases being repeated or inverted. Although it takes quite some time, I've found this works - better than simple repetition plus it gives much better insight into things like phrasing - in remembering the piece as a whole. But he doesn't give any guidance on remembering the damn starting point!

To go back to my own ruminations, my suspicion is that so many pieces of music, dance figures, taiji forms - all of which I'd class as physical things - start off in a similar way, because there are only a few ways you can get the body moving. So you get a large bank of things that start off the same way. There is a famous book by Deny Parsons in which he claims you can identify any tune by simply making a list of whether the first few notes go up or down or stay the same. The system can work quite well usually, but there are many cases where you have to list 15 notes (his maximum) and then run through a longish list of clones. This is the problem we have with go games, too, of course.

In sharp contrast, poems tend to start off very distinctively: "I wandered lonely as a cloud"; "Wee sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie"; "If I should die, think only this of me"; "The boy stood on the burning deck." These are unforgettable.

In other words, the problem seems to lie within the medium. The physical things need a special technique.

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 Post subject: Re: Mind trick wanted
Post #9 Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:35 am 
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Perhaps memorising something first forwards, then backwards, could help.

Regarding the first few moves of a go game, linking why one was playing a particular game to the first few moves may make a difference. For some games, however, this is not necessary.

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Post #10 Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:41 am 
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Hi John,

Speaking of the start ( ~2:00 .. ~4:40 )
If you have trouble with the start, but are OK once it gets going, perhaps you can build or create a prequel so that the starting point you're struggling with is no longer the start ( for you, mentally ) ?

Example: for the start of a dance routine, you'd create a lead-in ( I don't know how many seconds or movements are sufficient for you ) so that the original start is a natural "next section" of the dance ? Of course, you're still stuck with recalling how this prequel starts, but maybe it's more forgiving since only you need to know it but nobody else sees any of it, and so you can even create multiple starting points, so that the key is that they lead to your original start, which is now a middle, so you should have an easier time just flowing through it.


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Post #11 Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:06 am 
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  • In music (for instance piano): the left hand is usually the hardest to remember, so from time to time, try to concentrate on your left hand and to hear the names of the notes while you are playing. Memory is not only auditive but also tactile, so try to concentrate on the feelings of your hands, especially on the hand which you think is the least sensitive. Closing your eyes may help.
  • In taiji: give names to techniques (e.g. "the crane spreads its wings"). Techniques have a martial purpose, so visualize your opponent and what the technique is doing to him.
  • In go: well, I don't know. Names are helpful when available (sanrensei, mini-chinese; low approach, low pincer...) but not everything has a name. Knowing the purpose of a move of course helps, but I tend to hit a brick wall when trying to remember my opponent's move, since I understand his moves less well than mine...

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Post #12 Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:34 am 
Oza
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I have had exactly the same problem, whether it is at the beginning of a dance remembering which foot goes first, or during a dance to remember how a certain figure starts. I think some specific preparation might help.

For remembering dance steps, two things that I've found useful are knowing the names of the figures, and tossing the names back and forth with my dance partner on the way to the venue, reminding each other which figure belongs to which dance. This makes us both feel a bit sharper when the music starts. As to which foot goes first, the dances (that I know) not beginning with an "a" start with the left foot, with the exception of the Waltz, or in German, der Walzer, which luckily can easily be mispronounced as der Walza. ;-)

As for playing music or remembering a go game, you say that after a prompt you are fine. What is wrong with a prompt? Why not take a glance at the sheet music or the game record before starting?

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Post #13 Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 12:22 pm 
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I heartily recommend the book Make it Stick. The short of it is that if you are experiencing this, it means that you need to practice retrieval, which is different from memory. The best way to develop this muscle is to self-test at increasingly longer intervals, ideally in a manner that approximates the situations where need to retrieve the knowledge you want to retrieve. One way to do this is to mix up problems (called interleaving), so that you are not training the retrieval of the information only in a context where you know exactly what you need to be retrieving. So, for example, giving yourself a mix of joseki problems that you self-test on, forcing yourself to try to retrieve the information before checking the answer. I don't know the best way to apply this to music, but some form of flash card system (that requires you to play a certain musical piece upon seeing the flash card), might be a possibility?

While problems with remembering the information might also be relevant, and can be addressed by various mnemonic techniques, the mnemonic techniques will not generally help with retrieval as much as actually forcing yourself to practice retrieving the information.

EDIT: Corrected book title after seeing EdLee get the correct title, clearly that didn't stick!


Last edited by Monadology on Tue Jun 12, 2018 9:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post #14 Posted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:54 pm 
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Quote:
recommend the book Making it Stick.
Make it Stick is just reachable by my left hand as I read the post. :study: :)

( Sorry about the ads ) Memory research (2016)
No ads, but dry paper ( similar ideas to background noise in learning )

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 Post subject: Re: Mind trick wanted
Post #15 Posted: Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:42 am 
Oza

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"retrieval" was the magic word I latched on to, thanks, and I bought the book, despite misgivings about the title ("make it stick" made it sound like yet another how-to-memorise book. But I trust Mondadology's judgement in these matters, and I'm glad I bought.

I've skimmed through for just a few minutes, but already it seems that my problem is that I was first assuming it was a matter of memorisation, then for a couple of days while I waited for the book, I assumed there was a retrieval trick. The real answer seems to be that there is no trick beyond having to repeat the retrieval manoeuvre often enough to turn it into a reflex action. There is also, apparently, a proper way to do the retrieval practice but I haven't got into that.

The other thing I noticed in my briefest of scans is that many of the standard memorisation techniques, several of which get an airing on L19 from time to time, are apparently incorrect in the light of modern knowledge. More precisely, they work but are tremendously wasteful. They get you where you want to be but you end up by going from London to Paris via New York.

Actually that reminds me - memory still works! - of a story from my working days. I spent a lot of time in Brussels covering NATO. There was a fellow Brit who worked there during the week and went home at weekends but he somehow always managed to miss the early evening flights home on a Friday. His wife eventually became suspicious and read the riot act. So the next week chummy made absolutely certain he got a stopover seat on a very early evening TWA flight. He made it in time and was soon in the air on the way to London. But there was massive fog in Britain and the plane couldn't land, so the pilot just continued straight on to New York. Needless to say, when chummy called his wife from New York to say he'd be a little late, he didn't quite get the sympathy he was looking for.


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