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Thread: The secret trait shared by child prodigies

  1. #1 The secret trait shared by child prodigies 
    AI's Have More Fun Bad Robot's Avatar
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    I found this Lumosity article that talked about something I've been thinking for some time now, and that is the part our memory plays in our overall intelligence. They refine it by calling it "exceptional working memory abilities".

    My question is how is working memory different from general memory and if you don't have a very good general memory can you still make improvements in your working memory as Lumosity claims?

    The secret trait shared by child prodigies


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    The best way to improve your working memory is to memorise as much stuff as possible so that your working memory is not distracted by trivialities like 7 x 8 = ???

    One thing that's been determined about mature experts (rather than child prodigies) is that they have extraordinary memory banks. Chess masters don't quickly work through all the possible strategies and options for a certain position or move. That's not necessary. They know all the individual moves of complete games and simply select from them.


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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Wonder how that ties in with Asimov's semi-facteious claim when he realised he'd re-discovered Bode's Law: Dumb people don't know anything, smart people remember what they've learned and geniuses can forget whatever they want because they're clever enough to come up with anything they need from scratch. (Paraphrased - it's ~30 years since I read it).
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    AI's Have More Fun Bad Robot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The best way to improve your working memory is to memorize as much stuff as possible so that your working memory is not distracted by trivialities like 7 x 8 = ???

    One thing that's been determined about mature experts (rather than child prodigies) is that they have extraordinary memory banks. Chess masters don't quickly work through all the possible strategies and options for a certain position or move. That's not necessary. They know all the individual moves of complete games and simply select from them.
    So you agree that a very good memory is needed to demonstrate intelligence? However that doesn't answer my question about the difference between just memory and working memory. In a computer the regular memory is a hard drive and the working memory is the RAM & CACHE memory. The more RAM & CACHE memory you have the better your computer works. It seems people may be similar to that model.

    But Lumosity claims that working memory in humans can easily be trained to work at a much higher performance. I believe them, but I would like to hear from someone that has used their process and has a personal opinion about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dywyddyr View Post
    Wonder how that ties in with Asimov's semi-facteious claim when he realised he'd re-discovered Bode's Law: Dumb people don't know anything, smart people remember what they've learned and geniuses can forget whatever they want because they're clever enough to come up with anything they need from scratch. (Paraphrased - it's ~30 years since I read it).
    The trouble is animals need to learn and remember things so that they can respond quickly in survival situations. It takes to much time to come up with answers from scratch even for the very intelligent. So a great working memory combined with a great long & short term memory helps keep us alive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    I found this Lumosity article that talked about something I've been thinking for some time now, and that is the part our memory plays in our overall intelligence. They refine it by calling it "exceptional working memory abilities".

    My question is how is working memory different from general memory and if you don't have a very good general memory can you still make improvements in your working memory as Lumosity claims?

    The secret trait shared by child prodigies
    adelady is spot-on. Increasing the sharpness of, and the amount of information in, your long-term memory is the best way to increase your working memory's efficiency.

    Working Memory has a finite amount of space. The only way to improve your working memory is by reducing the amount of resources your executive functions are using up. If you have a poor long-term memory without much information stored in it, your CEF is going to be using up a lot of your working memory's resources in its attempt to recall and manipulate information. The greater the stock of your long-term, the less your CEF has to search through it for a match.
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    Forum Sophomore jakesyl's Avatar
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    Just some confirmation here working memory is grey matter, and white matter is more connections. So by increasing one you decrease the other.... Lumosity could spring up a bunch of pathalogical liars. Oh wait, it doesn't work
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    Just some confirmation here working memory is grey matter, and white matter is more connections. So by increasing one you decrease the other
    So brain development is a zero sum game? I don't think so.
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    Forum Sophomore jakesyl's Avatar
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    Well sort of, however this is after the maximum memory is filled, so according to vsauce's is anything real episode, after 2.5 petabytes are filled up (scratch that thats just brain mass used for memory) anyway after the brain has reached capacity yes it is then a zero sum game. However you also have to remember your brain will make what it needs, so if you need white it will make white and concentrate all its efforts on such that no grey is made, and vice versa.
    "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error; but who does strive to do deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesyl View Post
    Well sort of, however this is after the maximum memory is filled, so according to vsauce's is anything real episode, after 2.5 petabytes are filled up (scratch that thats just brain mass used for memory) anyway after the brain has reached capacity yes it is then a zero sum game. However you also have to remember your brain will make what it needs, so if you need white it will make white and concentrate all its efforts on such that no grey is made, and vice versa.
    I've never heard of a single case where any human has maxed out their memory. But in any case how the working memory interfaces with the short & long term memory has a lot to do with a persons perceived intelligence. How many times have you needed to remember something and you just couldn't bring it up? You know it's there, but for some reason you can't access it when you want to. If you are in the middle of a conversation when that happens, it doesn't make you look to intelligent to others.

    One of the good things about the forum is if you have one of those brain farts, you can wait for the memory or search for an alternative response. But you can't look bad until you hit the enter button. Even then you still have an edit button that can help you fix something you've written. So when others complain about bad spelling, it can be quite irritating but there is some good justification for the complaints. Everything that's written in this forum can be read by others for years to come. There are lots of good tools to help with bad spelling or typos if you will, so who ever the reader may be, if they see a lot of bad spelling, no matter how good what you are saying is, there will be a credibility problem.

    I'm just using this example of how people interface with the forum can create a perceived intelligence to others, and we have a choice to make. If you have time you can also research any comments you plan to make increasing your perceived intelligence even more. However, we don't always have much choice in how our working memory interfaces with our regular memory. At least that's what I've thought for a long time now. Now I'm leaning towards thinking this Lumosity program might be changing that belief.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    I've never heard of a single case where any human has maxed out their memory.
    12th week of organic chem 2. I haven't been able to form new memories since. When I try, I smell smoke.
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    Genius Duck Moderator Dywyddyr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesyl View Post
    Well sort of, however this is after the maximum memory is filled, so according to vsauce's
    Do NOT get your "science" from youtube.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bad Robot View Post
    I've never heard of a single case where any human has maxed out their memory.
    12th week of organic chem 2. I haven't been able to form new memories since. When I try, I smell smoke.
    Then you might be the perfect test subject for this Lumosity program. Can you try it for about a month and report back on it?
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    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Huh? I forgot what we were talking about. What's that smell? Anyone else taste copper?
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  16. #15  
    Anti-Crank AlexG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakesyl View Post
    Well sort of, however this is after the maximum memory is filled, so according to vsauce's is anything real episode, after 2.5 petabytes are filled up (scratch that thats just brain mass used for memory) anyway after the brain has reached capacity yes it is then a zero sum game. However you also have to remember your brain will make what it needs, so if you need white it will make white and concentrate all its efforts on such that no grey is made, and vice versa.
    It would be nice to see you come up with something other than a boobtube reference. Say, something peer reviewed, published in a reputable journal?
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  17. #16  
    Aspiring Psychologist Krystine L. Buckmaster's Avatar
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    Working memory is the part of your memory where formulas and things used to solve cognitive problems are temporarily stored. General memory isn't really in need of an explanation, it is just the main part of your memory system, for remembering thing such as names and dates. They are two separate parts of your memory, so yes you can improve your working memory without having a very good general memory.
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    Not a genetic trait per-se, but childhood/adolescent environment seems to be even more important than innate talent. Not suggesting nurture > nature in terms of talent, but looking into the lives of very talented prodigies, the thing that seems to determine whether they succeed or fail seems to be almost invariably their home life. I.E, economic class, access to education, relation with parents, etc.
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