Sunday, June 04, 2006

Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain by Ron Hale-Evans

Mind Performance Hacks: Tips & Tools for Overclocking Your Brain by Ron Hale-Evans, ISBN 0-596-10153-8 If you already read my book Disinfect Your Mind, some parts may look familiar to you. For example:

Hack #11: Psychologist George A. Miller concluded in a classic 1956 experimental survey that human short-term memory can hold only seven items at a time plus or minus two.
Actually, as this book notes, recent research suggests the magic number may be even lower – students at the University of Queensland did not perform better than a chance when analyzing statistical dependence between five variables ([2]), and even with four they performed much worse than with two or three. Although, IMHO, some systematic factor may be in place. E.g. ancient Romans with their lead pipes probably would have performed poorer compare to their countryside counterparts. Today it could be a widespread of soda and hamburgers, drugs in schools or even cultural changes. Of course, it’s merely speculation which is very hard to prove and hence, if it’s true, even harder to get rid of. [1] Miller, George A. 1956 “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information.” The Psychological Review, 63. http://www.well.com/user/smalin/miller.html [2] Halford, Graeme S., Rosemary Baker, Julie E. McCredden, and John D. Bain. “How Many Variables Can Humans Process?” (January 2005). Psychological Science. Abstract at http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-03/aps-hmc030805.php