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Covid and memory?

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Covid and memory?

Old 30th Mar 2021, 09:42
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Covid and memory?

My will to live won't survive reading through the 15,000 + posts in the main thread, to see if this has been mentioned elsewhere, but one personal 'achievement' has been the ability to reel off my credit card details from memory - (constant use, learning by rote). That's 23 unrelated numerals. Quite chuffed with myself ... until a radio programme last night about the World Memory Championships ...a North Korean team member could recall up to 10,000 random numbers ( that's TEN THOUSAND !!) and similarly ludicrous quantities of binaries and decks of cards !
It appears that the technique, usually employed, is to associate items to be memorised with easily recalled familiar objects, what one described as 'rooms in a palace'.
Other factors apart, such as not having a palace as domestic accommodation, it strikes me that this is DOUBLING the task, since one has to recall both the object AND the 'palace room'.
Apart from my credit card brilliance, my other memory accomplishments are in a state of total and rapid decline - should I book a North Korean training course?
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 09:52
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My regular visits to 'Spoons for breakfast and/or coffee last autumn seared my credit card number/expiry/last 4 digits into my brain - now completely forgotten again. I can, however, recall quite a few older British light aircraft registrations from 40 years ago when I notice them on ADSB these days - amazing what sticks. Can't remember my siblings' grandkids names half the time... except for Jonny, he's easy as he's the only boy out of the eight... or is it nine? Or just seven?
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 10:13
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Originally Posted by Cornish Jack View Post
My will to live won't survive reading through the 15,000 + posts in the main thread, to see if this has been mentioned elsewhere, but one personal 'achievement' has been the ability to reel off my credit card details from memory - (constant use, learning by rote). That's 23 unrelated numerals. Quite chuffed with myself ... until a radio programme last night about the World Memory Championships ...a North Korean team member could recall up to 10,000 random numbers ( that's TEN THOUSAND !!) and similarly ludicrous quantities of binaries and decks of cards !
It appears that the technique, usually employed, is to associate items to be memorised with easily recalled familiar objects, what one described as 'rooms in a palace'.
Other factors apart, such as not having a palace as domestic accommodation, it strikes me that this is DOUBLING the task, since one has to recall both the object AND the 'palace room'.
Apart from my credit card brilliance, my other memory accomplishments are in a state of total and rapid decline - should I book a North Korean training course?
At one point in my (aviation, don't ask) life, I had to memorize something like 25 x 6-digit numbers - some integers, some decimal. I used the Major Memory System combined with the 'rooms in a palace' technique. Except not a palace, but a familiar house. Essentially you turn each number into an object with the Major system, and then mentally place these objects in the rooms of your house, then memorise a walk through the house encountering each of these things. It sound complex, but just took a few hours and after that it was absolutely fixed and could be perfectly recalled. That was around 1 year ago, I can't recall the numbers now because I haven't refreshed them, but I am confident that with minimal effort they could be retained indefinitely.


Which reminds me, there's a related technique that I regularly use and which works brilliantly. Imagine your dearly beloved says to you "next time you are near Tesco, please drop in and get some baked beans". You know that you will forget and lose brownie points, try this. Picture the front of your local Tesco, picture yourself looking at it and suddenly a torrent of baked beans pours out and engulfs you. Make it as vivid and detailed as you can. If you do that, I promise that next time you look at Tesco's entrance you will remember baked beans. The image seems to have the right half-life so it can be replaced with light bulbs or broccoli or whatever she nags you about next.

Last edited by double_barrel; 30th Mar 2021 at 10:24.
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 10:31
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I bought a bag of sprouts from M&S yesterday. Now I like sprouts but not that many so I've divided the bag in half and took a portion with me to give to my friend who loves them when we walked this morning. "Remind me to give them to you..." She forgot, I forgot... Now they are in my fridge and hopefully I'll see her on Thursday - and we'll both remember the sprouts are in my fridge, let alone achieve handover... Green Easter eggs they are, green Easter eggs...
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 10:38
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If memory serve me correct, I choose not to remember specific individual things but rather choose where to reference the information I need to recall. E.g. I find remembering to look up a checklist card is much easier than remembering the actual items on the checklist itself, although this is a basic example, if you have to deal with complex systems on a daily basis this technique helps a lot, and as a side effect this also helps with quickly getting up to speed on new complex systems that you've never seen before.

As for doing the groceries, well a second trip to the store is not uncommon.

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Old 30th Mar 2021, 10:39
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That's just an age thing, and it's normal. I find that I forget things unless I bother to commit them to memory. A friend gave me their new mobile number the other week and I memorised it in thirty seconds. Mind you I can remember all my early car registrations from half a century back.
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 10:49
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Covid and memory
Why yes thanks, I'd like for forget all about it at some point - and most of the incompetent and evil characters involved (all politicians it seems).
There should be a method for clearing memories of distasteful items no longer needed onboard, to further and promote a harmonious life.
Regrettably, other than something like a glancing, accidental blow from a sack of bricks, it's not feasible. I hear aging helps but at 69, I have yet to encounter that effect.
This, however, does assist in writing and the book is slowly coming along. Just a hobby you know. Working title - "Where the Bodies are Buried"
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 11:15
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Dunno about Covid, but I reckon a general anaesthetic mucks up the memory hugely.

It's the Bucket of Water Theory. Start with an empty bucket, pour in a memory, it's still there. Keep putting them in over the years, some might be a little muddy but they are still in there. Keep pouring them in.
Reach older age, the bucket rim starts to get lower, so it is easy to fill the bucket. Pour in a new memory, but unless you make a big effort to remember it, it will slide out over the rim very quickly. But the memories from 60 or 70 years ago are still in there, down the bottom. They have festered a bit, but still recognisable. I remember with absolute clarity the checklist for a Winjeel trainer, first solo at 18 in 1969. Remember the Huey checklists from 1973. Can't remember what my wife asked me to buy at Coles this morning.
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 11:41
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When our brains were young, most things got stored automatically - language, local area, physical skills etc

As we age, our brains don't store things automatically so we have to consciously work at it. Rote learning works by constant repetition, other ways involve use of more than one sense. So invoking images rich in colour, and distorted in size will help to fix a memory. The more ridiculous and unusual the image, the more likely it is to be remembered. So an image of a gigantic sprout or enormous tin of baked beans or whatever strapped to the roof of your car, with every body looking and pointing at it should help.

I use lists a lot - either scribbled on a scrap of paper or in my phone.

I think sleep helps fix memories, so important to get plenty of undisturbed sleep as well.
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 12:47
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Our secondary modern class teacher would number the blackboard 1 - 30 and then ask each of us in turn to give him any word, which he'd then write against one of the numbers. Then, when it was finished, he'd stare at the blackboard for 30 seconds or so, turn around and invite us to ask him either the number or the word and he'd match them and be correct every time. I saw many years later that he was a regular contributor to one of the Sunday paper puzzle pages.
Like some of the others, I've got decades-old slabs of useless memory clunking around inside my head like small icebergs and struggle to remember yesterday's events.
35NCD16 - Concorde nose gear housing alloy specification for example. I read that in an aircraft construction article in 1983 and it's been with me ever since. And I've never worked on Concorde.
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 14:04
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Originally Posted by Effluent Man View Post
I find that I forget things unless I bother to commit them to memory.
That's usually how it works.
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 15:03
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“I mustn’t forget to remember not to forget to remember.”
My brain remembers things at random times, after a good sleep for example as Uplinker mentioned above, but not usually just when I need said vital information.

I’ve got VP in my mind for remembering who is driving for Red Bull this year, and LS for Ferrari. (I hope.)
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 15:08
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Why did I turn on this PC??
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 18:08
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Originally Posted by Ancient Observer View Post
Why did I turn on this PC??
Thanks, I only saw that as I had forgotten what I originally turned the laptop on for, and ended up here for some reason
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Old 30th Mar 2021, 23:44
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Google Professor Elisabeth Loftus and prepare to be dismayed. Some of your oldest memories could be false, built up over time or for some blanking of an horrific incident. IIRC, she was an expert in the field before finding she'd been wrong about something most of her life.
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Old 31st Mar 2021, 00:16
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Between Mrs VJ's memories and myself I have come to the conclusion that we have never gone anywhere together, never lived together and I am even wondering if we have the same children.

When I was at college I read a book by one of those memory experts. Since mine was already poor I decided to try it. After a week I could go through a shuffled pack of cards and reliably recall the two cards that had been removed. Unfortunately it took considerable mental effort and I didn't bother to work on it any further.

I was heartened recently to learn about the bucket idea. Apparently my poor memory is just because the bucket is full rather than alzheimers or something. Unfortunately I also realised that my bucket is rather small.
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Old 31st Mar 2021, 01:04
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I can't exactly tell, but if the OP wants to know if Covid mucks up the memory (and other brain functions), the answer is hellz yeah. It also causes incredibly vivid dreams. And the effects linger long after the body tests negative for Covid, months and months so far (along with other physical symptoms. This is from my personal experience and from talking with other folks who also had Covid. Enjoy - everybody will get it eventually.
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Old 31st Mar 2021, 06:12
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Mrs ETOPS is a "super recogniser" - I am not

Shopping at a local supermarket she chatted to a random older lady in the queue but outside tore into me for being rude and not talking to this woman. When I protested that I didn't know her she reeled off all the details of the last meeting; where she lived, name of daughter, name and type of dog etc etc. When was this last meeting I asked?

17 years ago!!
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Old 31st Mar 2021, 08:37
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Originally Posted by ETOPS View Post
Mrs ETOPS is a "super recogniser" - I am not

Shopping at a local supermarket she chatted to a random older lady in the queue but outside tore into me for being rude and not talking to this woman. When I protested that I didn't know her she reeled off all the details of the last meeting; where she lived, name of daughter, name and type of dog etc etc. When was this last meeting I asked?

17 years ago!!
That's nowt! Most 'wives of' incumbents of Officers' Messes can remember what ALL the other ladies wore to the Summer Ball from the first time they attended their first!
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Old 31st Mar 2021, 08:45
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My footy fan mates seem to be able to remember every player and every goal/foul/bad ref decision for every British team all the way up from St Snotwith's Old Contemptibles in the South Eastern Sunday League right up to Chelsea/Leeds/MUFC/Etc since 9 months before they were born... and every World/European cup likewise. Yet, ask them whose round it is...
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