FAB5 Conference Forum

The forum for FAB5 Conference participants!


You are not connected. Please login or register

August (Curtis Kelly): Our Simulating Memory and Language Processing Tools

Go down  Message [Page 1 of 1]

Admin

avatar
Admin
Refer to the August section on the certificate course website before responding to these questions.


You may respond to each question separately on this forum, but make sure you eventually answer all of these questions:

(1) How has your view of memory changed since reading these materials?

(2) How has your view of language processing changed since reading these materials?

(3) Think of as many implications either of these theories has in regard to language teaching as you can. 
For example, “Since memory is so faulty, we shouldn’t make listening comprehension questions that focus on detail, such as “How many people were at the party? a) 36 b) 38, c) 40”


(4) Finally, does this bring to mind any maxims? Which ones, and why?  Can you make any new ones that fit?

View user profile http://fab-efl.com
The more I learn about memory, the more I realize that it is prone to error, and a work in progress.  This is really interesting considering we are really just a culmination of our past experiences.  It seems as though we could really change out perspective of the world, and control our future simulations based on what memories we choose to revisit.  

I really enjoyed the article by Schacter (Adaptive Constructive Processes and the Future of Memory).  It was only at the conference that I first heard how recalling the past and simulating the future uses the same regions of the brain.  I really appreciated Schacter's analysis of this and was surprised to read about how much future simulation can influence memory.  This raises some new questions for me and I hope other people will entertain some of these ideas in the forum with me.

First: If memory and future simulation share so many neural processes in common, could improving one improve the other?  In other words, could we improve our memory by engaging in directed activities that require us to simulate the future.  Or, by sharpening our memories could we improve ability to positively and accurately simulate out futures?  I find this really interesting food for thought.  Smile

Also, if there is an extensive overlap in the neural processes used to remember the past and imagine the future, then maybe there is a way to harness this in pedagogy.  Perhaps learners should be given time to imagine using a new learning target before output is required.  For example, after a new learning target is introduced in class AND before practice of that target begins... the learners could be given a moment to mentally simulate their output.  This could be before enacting a role-play, the act of group discussion or even interviewing activities in pair work.  I realize that this is not an original idea.  To a certain extent I think that a lot of lesson activities coincidentally allow students the time to premeditate their output.  However, I don't think that this is given explicit attention as a teaching method.  In education I think we embrace the idea of reflecting and reviewing, but not the idea of simulating the future.  It seems we could dive in deeper and further explore the idea of imagining the future as a learning tool.

The maxim this reminds me of is the 'Meditate for better learning' (Maxim #39).  I find it fascinating to think that mediation, memory and imagining the future are all so tightly linked through the default network.  I wonder if there is a way to run a directed mediation in the middle or end of class that could help the learners consolidate the materials covered.  I think this could have tremendous potential, but would be hard to justify in the face of standardized education and more conventional practices.  

What do you guys think? Looking forward to reading your ideas! Smile

View user profile

Admin

avatar
Admin
Hi Annie Smile

I like to frame this is with DaeNs.  Dynamic Acquisition-Equilibrium Networks. 

So, memory and imagination for me are not just 'shared' processes. They use the same DaeNs, so they are the same thing according to most of the brain (only the conscious bit in our PFC and related networks are aware of the temporal differences). This is why we can have a panic attack just by thinking about something scary, even though our PFC may be telling us to be more rational about it. This is why D-Day veterans had heart attacks in the movie theaters when they watched Saving Private Ryan. Most of the brain does not differentiate memory from imagination, nor from the analysis of real time information. For most of the brain, these processes all use the most appropriate lingering DaeNs, and build on those lingering DaeNs. So, to answer your questions --Yes! Pedagogy (or even incidental learning) that rekindles lingering DaeNs strengthens them -via processes such as LTP (long term potentiation) and myelination. Can you expand your ideas based on what I have written here?
Robert

View user profile http://fab-efl.com

4 Great ideas on Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:18 pm

Very Happy 
Thanks for your good ideas.  Both of your posts have stimulated new ideas in me.

Robert, Yes!

memory and imagination for me are not just 'shared' processes


I think they use the same networks too, and so does real action.  Then, how does the brain distinguish what happened, what is happening now and what it is imagining?  Strength of firing is part of it, but there must be more.  The loss of this ability to distinguish is probably the cause of schizophrenic hallucination too.  


Annie, I loved your idea of using imagination to strengthen memory and maybe language learning.  One point made me wonder if I got what you were saying, though. 


 If memory and future simulation share so many neural processes in common, could improving one improve the other?  In other words, could we improve our memory by engaging in directed activities that require us to simulate the future.



Nerves are not exactly like muscles that get stronger the more you use them, but connections are. So, how or what do we "strengthen"



Then too, what you wrote made me think: If we imagine something using the same networks, won't we be changing the memory in the process?  But wait, maybe that is what remembering is, imagining something again.


Food for thought.

View user profile
Hi guys,

Thanks for your comments!  I've been in the 'bush' in Africa with limited opportunities to get online for some time now.  The forced internet detox was actually quite nice though…

I have a question for Robert.  What does PFC stand for?  PreFrontal Cortex?

In addition to considering the relationship between memory and future simulation, it is really interesting to think that the brain also does not distinguish between memory, imagination and real time information.  It's a wonder that we consider our memories 'real' at all.  I'm sure most of our memories are actually false.  Could this be why pathological liars seem to believe in their own lies?  
In terms of learning/processing real time information, it seems that people are only likely to pick up information that compliments their learning experiences thus far.  Which would imply that past experiences will influence what we are ready to perceive in a classroom.  Very interesting.  Based on this, I think building context for learning materials is really important.  I wonder what would be the most optimal ways to build context and classroom environment….

Thanks for the comments, guys.  This has been a great course so far.  

Smile

Annie

View user profile

Admin

avatar
Admin
Hi Annie,

Yes, PFC = pre frontal cortex

I like your thinking and I agree with you nuances. Very Happy

To further this thinking, let's consider why most of the brain does not/cannot distinguish the difference between 'memory', daydreaming, and imagining the future.

This is simplistic nutshell logic that captures the gist:
1. The brain produces outcomes via its networks. 
2. The only way to produce a particular outcome in the brain is to use a purose-built network that has specifically 'emerged' for that particular outcome. (not by design, but as an emergent property).
3. Context nurtures these networks that we have. Unless we are in a context that forces us to create duplicate networks, its safe to say that each network that emerges is unique, making the outcomes particular to each network.
4. So, if 'memory' is similar to/same as 'an imagined future' we must be treading the same network (or else the outcome would necessarily be different. You can't imagine a 'future cat' without using your lingering cat DaeNs, or memories of cats).

It's certainly more complicated that this, but this is the broad-strokes explanation --> we don't have duplicate copies of networks that we separately attach to 'memory' areas and 'imagination' areas in the brain. We simply use what we've got at hand (what I call lingering DaeNs).


For the next part, you touch on what's called priming in psychology and I agree with your nuances. Priming re-kindles the most appropriate lingering DaeNs, so yes, we do build upon that foundation. It's the teacher's job to foster/nurture those initial DaeNs, keep them alive by re-treading the material, and then making them stronger with various pedagogical techniques that cater to the needs of each individual student (using the limbic system to their advantage).

Unfortunately, most teachers around the world still see teaching as simply  'providing information', and the learning aspect is up to the student. Sad

Do you have other thoughts/questions?
Robert

View user profile http://fab-efl.com
(1) How has your view of memory changed since reading these materials?

After reading and re-reading everything, reminded me of a moment with faulty memory. 
I was getting all four of my wisdom teeth removed. As the dentist put me under, I saw the clock move from one side of the wall to the other by itself. A few weeks later I have to go back for a check up. By this time I swore that I saw the clock move from one side of the wall to the other as the drugs were kicking in. I went in the office, sat in the chair and didn't see a clock. There was never a clock to begin with. I was a little confused because I knew I saw it before I went under. Thinking, well I was in a drug haze and I saw the clock move, when it fact it didn't even exist. Was it the drugs or my imagination...I still have no clue. In the end I did feel quite unsettled to the fact that my brain could do that to me. I felt that I couldn't trust all four of my eyes for the right information.


(2) How has your view of language processing changed since reading these materials?

After the reading, it made me wonder how come I can pick up somethings but not everything, especially when it comes to learning languages. It feels like if I'm focused on learning the information doesn't hold as well, versus if the learning is random, repetitive or not important. It bothers me that I can remember random facts so easily, but when it comes to certain things that I should know for a test, my brain is out the window. I'm to the point if the learning conditions aren't right that I won't be able to progress the way I should. Yet, if I'm really interested in a topic History, then I seem to retain more because it is something that I enjoy. Which also makes me wonder...if you enjoy the thing that you're learning, does that mean your brain is making a different chemical? If so, how can we do that for the subjects that we don't enjoy? 

(3) Think of as many implications either of these theories has in regard to language teaching as you can. 
For example, “Since memory is so faulty, we shouldn’t make listening comprehension questions that focus on detail, such as “How many people were at the party? a) 36 b) 38, c) 40”

When my students have to answer two questions at the end of a video clip, I tend to give them the question before the clip than after. Even if I have to play the video clip again, my students can acquire the answer much more easily than if they had to watch the video first and then answer the question. Maybe because it involves a visual and auditory response to obtain the answer...who knows.

(4) Finally, does this bring to mind any maxims? Which ones, and why?  Can you make any new ones that fit?

I would have to say Maxim#1 Emotion because even if the memory is true or faulty, you will have some kind of emotional connection to that memory. Just like when Curtis was talking about the woman who swore she had a memory of a bad experience involving an older male relative. When in fact it didn't even happen to her, but the emotion was so strong for her that she knew that her memory was accurate and true. This leads to Maxim#17-A Plastic. Dopamine seems to be the catalyst with neuroplasticity, which I kind of suspect that if the memory is good or bad dopamine will kick in to create that neuro link to the memory triggering a positive or negative response. When I'm in love with a subject and I start to talk about it, I unconsciously start to talk faster and become almost giddy because I love to discuss said topic. When I finally do calm down it feels like I'm coming down off of something. Even though, I feel tired and emotionally drained, I still have a good feeling afterward.

View user profile

8 reply to Karlene on Mon Feb 02, 2015 5:15 am

Hi Karlene,

The bit about the clock is interesting.  It fits misinformation theory, in that you melded memories, but the interesting part is that you were given  painkillers that seemed to aid or accelerate the process. So what does that mean?

A little reading (I hope you do some too) shows me that novocain, assuming that or something similar is the drug you were on, works by interfering with the sodium channels of neurons.  Big stuff.  Nerve firing is at heart sodium transmission across the synapse.  It depresses all firing, but at the same time, causes the release of dopamine and seratonin.  I'm guessing the drug is similar to emotional trauma, which is also associated with false memory.  It depresses normal firing which cortisol or other neurotransmitters released in high emotional stress does, while increasing dopamine and serotonin that might cause certain networks to make stronger connections, or as Robert says, to induce to the prefrontal cortex to make a narrative.

I think there might be a connection between these actions in dreaming, trauma, and novocaine use, that puts parts together that would not have been otherwise.  I need to read more.

View user profile
I didn't consider that it would suppress one brain chemical while firing another. It almost reminds me of what drug users say about taking uppers and downers, you need one to wake you up and the other to bring you down. At the dentist office it was the first time I had been put under intravenously, so I was completely unresponsive and not feeling any pain.

View user profile

Sponsored content


Back to top  Message [Page 1 of 1]

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum