Most of the presentations I attended last week at the 26th Annual APS (Association for Psychological Science) Convention were extremely valuable and I learned much about, e.g., the latest science. However one of the programs stood out as not only a good learning experience but also immediately useful—and entertaining. I might even call it memorably inspiring and simply amazing. I am happy to see that the whole presentation is available for your viewing on the APS site.
Click to watch Make It Stick: How Memory Athletes Perform and How Their Techniques Can Help You. From the program description:
Memory researcher Henry L. Roediger, III, spoke the digits at a rate of one every 2 seconds. A few feet to his left on the stage, memory athlete Nelson Dellis sat in a chair absorbing each one. Dellis was hunched over, his hands pressed over his eyes, his face a bit red with intensity. After Roediger announced the 100th digit, Dellis leaned back and asked for a moment to let it sink in. He was going to recite them back to the audience, all hundred, in order.
A packed ballroom never sat so silent in anticipation.
Roediger and Dellis had just spent the past hour revealing the secrets of mnemonic memory as part of the Bring the Family Address at the 26th APS Annual Convention. Roediger, APS Past President and a psychological scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, has pivoted some research attention to the spectacular feats of extreme memorizers. Dellis, the reigning and three-time US Memory Champion, helped him demonstrate to the crowd just how spectacular those feats are.
“Psychologists, strangely enough, even though there’s a large number of us who study memory, have not been as fascinating with mnemonic techniques as we might have been,” said Roediger. “They were sometimes seen as they are in education, as party tricks — not worthy of study. I think that’s misguided.”
I highly recommend you take the time to watch this program. Let me know what you think.
Related: "Remembering, as an Extreme Sport" (New York Times).
Note (added June 19, 2014): An article in Business Insider reviewed Dr. Roediger's new book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. Click to read "7 Memory Skills That Will Make You Way Smarter."