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Showing posts with label memory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label memory. Show all posts

WHAT IS ELEPHANT'S MEMORY ?

 

I was pretty amazed one night when I read that former Chief Election Commissioner of India T.N. Seshan had an elephant's memory and he could quote verbatim long passages, be it from scriptures, prose or poetry.  This former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from South India was labelled as the  hardest nut to crack in the political circles of his times.

When I see my reading commitments with books piled up on my table, I wish that all information in those books should go into my brain instantly like Director S. Shankar's Tamil science fiction  movie Enthiran in which the hero Dr. Vaseegaran  creates a sophisticated android   that  astonishes the audience with jaw-dropping tricks like reading bulky books/magazines in a blip of second with it's X-Ray eyes.

I wonder whether that  is within human possibility or not.  I can't summarily dismiss that act as shown in that movie.  But there is enough evidence to prove the power of human brain through powerful personalities like Swami Vivekananda who is blessed with such photographic memory.

If we go into the mechanics of memory, it is said that our memory works basically on one cardinal principle : Interest is the mother of attention and attention is the mother of  memory.  If a thing ignites you enough and when you feel the need to memorize, you could do it effortlessly.

When it comes to Elephant's Memory,  I read that Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee is gifted with a phenomenal memory power.  Even in his ripe age, he used to  read a lot and write  journal/diary.     Why it is called elephant's memory because the elephant never forget.   It doesn’t have appreciable eyesight, but it never forgets a face.  The elephants in the group check one another out with their trunks.  Another interesting fact is that  elephants also recall routes to alternate food and water sources when their usual areas dry up. 

The elephant's memory is not an illusion and one could  cultivate it through self effort.



BUFF YOUR BRAIN

 

In the last two decades, brain science has advanced to phenomenal levels. However, the fact remains is, whatever we discovered is only a tiny fraction of what there is to know about human brain !

Look at this 3 pound mass jelly which consists of 100 billion intricate network of neurons. Each neuron makes synaptic connection (points of contacts where information is shared between neurons) anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000. The permutations and combinations it could make is beyond the elementary particles of known universe. The fuel oxygen is 20 % of our total intake.

Numerous studies have been made on the cognitive abilities of humans which indicate that if we learn a second language, the cortical circuits that hold both languages, become active. The prefrontal cortex which is just behind our forehead, the so called CEO of our brain then steps in to choose the right word.

During brain anatomy studies, researchers observed that the gifted writers and poets may have excess connections between word and language areas of the brain. Likewise gifted painters and graphic artists may have excess connections between high-level visual areas.

Brain scans of London cab drivers gave an interesting insight. They have been found with larger posterior hippocampus, the region which files the spatial memories. These findings reiterate the fact that any skill can be cultivated by repetition which will not only improve our motor abilities but activate the non-mechanical parts of brain and fine-tune those abilities.

Brain is simply not a processing machine but a data warehouse. All the events of our life are stored in memory which is categorized into three kinds: procedural memory (new skills like bicycling), semantic memory (factual knowledge) and episodic memory. If we don't take enough care about what we are reading, seeing or hearing, it won't be retained in our mind.

Research also reveals that handwriting engages more sections of the brain than typing. It becomes easy to remember something written down on paper. So next time when your child faces any memory retention problems, ask her/him to write down which  solves the problem.

Scientists believe that our greater cognitive capacity comes from having more neurons or synapses. The compounds such as BNDF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) stimulates the production of new neurons and synapses. Physical activity gives enormous boost to the brain power. Walking 30 minutes a day stimulates the production of BNDF for creation of new neurons and synapses that underlie learning. Laboratory studies reveal that exercise increases grey matter in the region of the hippo-campus that processes new knowledge and dispatches it to permanent storage in the frontal cortex.

Meditation increases the thickness of regions that control attention and processing of sensory signals from the outside world. Indulging too much in gizmos will only lower our natural abilities. See how our mathematical ability has fallen drastically after the advent of calculators !

Engaging in constant activity will seriously jeopardize the brain performance. Those who want to ride with time should also listen that a nap in the afternoon not only restores brain power to its fully awake best, but can also raise it beyond what it would have been without some shut-eye. Studies also show that 15 minutes after-noon nap is ideal to refresh the mind. That's why the search engine giant Google went a step ahead in providing nap pods for their employees and others must follow the suit to increase the employee productivity.

The more you know about your brain, the more still remains to know. The old myth about human body as a structure should be replaced with what mind-body medicine expert Dr. Deepak Chopra calls as "Energy and Information Field.'

To put it in a flash of insight : an intention to excel in any activity is the prime driver to keep your brain at best!