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Day 9, SuperMemo Ultramarathon – Enjoy the Ride

April 22, 2010

I don’t like dogs that much, I do like cats a lot, and if I believed that we where some other animal in our past lives then I probably would have liked been a tiger (a vegan tiger, even though I’m not a vegan right now). However, this dog surely knows how to enjoy the ride, and that’s how I felt yesterday while doing the repetitions. I made it trough 628 reps, while still processing 64 extracts, and reading two other chapter books.

The best of all, now, is that I’m feeling you can always train your self to achieve more mentally. Before starting this ultra my repetitions started to feel painful, I had to do between 250 and 350 some days, but over 50% of the time they were not finished, and hence postponed. I have no account about how many days (I could find and exact statistic on SuperMemo) this has happened, or if the main reason of this overdue repetitions was because of to much input. But yesterday I did not even feel tired of the repetitions, I do have notice the time it gets me go fall sleep has reduced a lot (meaning I’m sleepy), but the tiredness of the first day of this 14 journey was gone — maybe my hypocampus just needs more time to process data.

Also, yesterday I found about a study published on Nature that mind training programs are unable to improve our thinking abilities. I can’t  say the study has faults and/or is wrong (I haven’t critically read it yet) but, perhaps, even though this mind programs can’t make us better thinkers, SRS system can train us to be more efficient while learning, meaning that you don’t really get better organically, but your enhance the skills to deal with many steps in the learning process and that’s something great.

I’m wondering how it will feel when I go back to the 300 daily reps, if the mind is really a relativist biological computer, it will probably think I’m on vacations.

Reminder for the day:
To memorize details, think as a child, pay attention to details

As small children have not learned to categorize, they pay close attention to details, doing better then adults on memory for details.

“As people become smarter, they start to put things into categories, and one of the costs they pay is lower memory accuracy for individual differences,” Vladimir Sloutsky of Ohio State University and co-author of a paper on the study published in the May/June issue of the journal Child Development.

But, adult memory is flexible and can do a fine job remembering details, they just have to pay attention to details:

Later in the study, adults were shown pictures of imaginary insects and were able to pick them out of a lineup later on. “They remembered them because they had to pay close attention,” said Sloutsky


#Element: 58342: “As people become smarter, they start to put things into categories, and one of the …

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Little Fish permalink
    April 22, 2010 07:43

    That study is referred to “brain training” games such as “Brain Age” and whatnot. The games say that by playing them, your “brain score” goes up, and you become smarter. Think of it as a “mental workout” for the purpose of making you smarter. While studies can be flawed, simply changing “score” to “brain score” doesn’t necessarily mean that you are becoming smarter while playing a game; becoming smarter is not a simple formula.

    My argument that Supermemo is vastly different from such seemingly sensational “training programs” would be that such programs advertise themselves as a means to become smarter. Supermemo is advertised simply as a means of remembering information. There are side benefits that come from honing your skills with Supermemo, but the payoff requires a great deal of work.

    So how many total flashcards do you have to do (Including the ones you have missed)? How much longer will the battle continue?

    • gersapa permalink*
      April 23, 2010 07:44

      I agree that supermemo is vastly different from any other brain training program, that’s why I frequently refer to it like my external hypocampus (sometimes, even when talking to people who don’t know about its existence), I believe that any spaced repetition system helps us by deliberate practice. If one get’s smarter or not?, scientifically I can’t prove it, my hunch is that we do. As for the side effects, well, they are common with any medicine, but disease must still be beaten or more health acquire, so, I welcome the payoff of using it without regard to the side effects.

      I have four more days on the battle, after that I plan to go for a brain massage outdoors, for a couple of days, then I’ll start another supermemo related goal.

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