Saturday, January 16, 2021

Practice makes perfect?

I repeat the same mistake more than twice and each time the mistake is more annoying than the last time.
This, certainly, is not what is meant by ‘practice makes perfect’.

How many times have you thought that you knew an answer to something or someone’s name and were never able to say it as it remained ‘right on the tip of your tongue’?

“Everybody has experienced that frustrating feeling of knowing a name or fact, but not being able to articulate it.”
It is called anomia, “a deficit in finding words…” or TOT, abbreviation of ‘tip of the tongue.’

In school, I was taught that, mathematically, there is no such thing as ‘coincidence’.
Remember the ‘therefore’ sign, three dots in arithmetic class that were in the form of the three points of a pyramid as the symbol denotes?
Thus, if the same thing is done or occurs more than twice under the same circumstances, it is a habit; it becomes definite!
100% = P800
50% = P400
10% = ?
Oh, how I loved those days before a+a = 2a.

ScienceDaily says that in new research, published in the November issue of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, published by the American Psychological Association, researchers Lori E. James, Ph.D., and Deborah M. Burke, Ph.D., report new evidence that ‘tip of the tongue’ experiences have to do with weak connections among word sounds represented in memory.

And Dr. James, of the University of California at Los Angeles and Dr. Burke, of Pomona College, believe that language retrieval depends on memory of both a word’s meaning and its sound.

Burke, working earlier with colleague Don MacKay, Ph.D., developed the “Transmission Deficit Model” that states that language production depends on the strength of connections within a network that includes conceptual and phonological levels.
Wikipedia says that the TOT phenomenon is an instance of knowing something that cannot immediately be recalled.

“TOT is a near-universal experience with memory recollection involving difficulty retrieving a well-known word or familiar name,” it says. “When experiencing TOT, people feel that the blocked word is on the verge of being recovered. Despite failure in finding the word, people have the feeling that the blocked word is figuratively “on the tip of the tongue.”

Inaccessibility and the sense of imminence are two key features of an operational definition of TOTs.

So why do we slip on the same banana twice? Why do we forget some words several times over? If we are supposed to learn from our mistakes, why then do we commit the same mistakes more than twice?
“We sure do learn from our mistakes, but what we learn is how to make more mistakes,” new research, published in the most recent issue of the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, shows.
This “seemingly counterintuitive idea comes from a study of a phenomenon called tip of the tongue,” says Jeanna Bryner of LiveScience.

Bryner says that a tip-of-the-tongue state, which is also cross-cultural and part of human nature, occurs when your brain has accessed the correct word, but for some reason can’t retrieve the sound information for it.

She says that while the word-glitch can happen regardless of your vocabulary aptitude, researchers have found TOT happens more for bilinguals, those who speak two languages (because they have more words to sift through), older people and individuals with brain damage.

“This can be incredibly frustrating – you know you know the word, but you just can’t quite get it,” said researcher Karin Humphreys of McMaster University in Ontario. “And once you have it, it is such a relief that you can’t imagine ever forgetting it again. But then you do.”

She says the reason this happens is that the time spent not remembering causes our brains to reinforce that “mistake pathway.”

Humphreys told LiveScience that the study results make sense because it is known that this is how the brain works; it reinforces whatever it does.
I have noticed that, at some times when I am rumbling along, I stop talking with a word so near but not being able to say it. It just sort of, yes, gets stuck at the tip of my tongue.

And the more I try to remember the word, the furthest away it seems to get from both my memory and my tongue.

Experts say that one of the reasons for tip of the tongue phenomenon is that someone may know a great deal, but not every last detail, about a topic.
They say that in this case, you have what is called ‘a feeling of knowing.’ You know something, but not everything, about the topic.

“One of the best ways to arrive at the correct answer in this case is to stop thinking about the issue altogether,” says psychologist Morris Moscovitch of the University of Toronto. “There is a chance that the inhibition will disappear and you will be able to get to the right answer if you just forget about the whole thing for a while.”
Humphreys says that the period in which people continue to rack their brains for the answer (or word) could be referred to as ‘error learning’.
“You’ll keep on digging yourself the wrong pathway; you either have 10 seconds worth of that extra bad learning or you have 30 seconds worth of that extra bad learning.”

Moscovich says there are two reasons for this phenomenon.

“Sometimes you think of the wrong answer but it is one that is somehow related to the right answer,” he said. “This process inhibits or interferes with the correct response. Although you know that the answer you are thinking is incorrect, you just can’t get rid of the thought.”

He added that sometimes this process, known as inhibition, can occur at an unconscious level.
Researchers found that the best way to tackle mistake-learning is to repeat the word (out loud or in your head) once you find the correct answer. They say that instead of trying to recall the elusive word, stop and ask a colleague or look it up.
“The findings should apply to other situations, including music and sports,” says Humphreys. “Music teachers know this principle; they tell you to practice slowly. If you practice fast, you’ll just practice your mistakes.”

So is there some meaning when we forget a name or word three or more times?
I hope there is no other meaning other than ‘information overload.’

The Journal of Memory and Language says that while everyone has TOTs, there are some differences in the TOTs experienced by older adults.

For example, the most common type of word involved in TOTs at all ages is proper names. But while forgetting proper names and object names becomes more common as we get older, abstract words are actually forgotten less.

“The length of time before the missing word is recalled also increases with age. This may be because older people are less likely to actively pursue a missing word, and more inclined to simply relax and think about something else. Older adults are also more likely than younger adults to go completely blank (unable to recall any part of the word’s sound or letters).

I hope I can remember all these words!


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