The Economy and Training of Memory

Jun 16, 2013 by

memoryThe Economy and Training of Memory by Henry Watt was originally published in 1909 and is a very fascinating look into memory and the study of memory circa early 1900’s.  Memory and the training of the memory has been of interest to the human race for as long as have likely been around.

This book, though over a hundred years old, covers everything from:

Do We Ever Completely Forget Anything
Systems of Memory Training
Methods of Taking Information Into the Mind
Does Memory Run Parallel to Intelligence
The Factors Which Influence Memory
Has the Child a Better Memory Than the Adult
Learning in Whole and Parts
The Shortest Association is the Strongest
The Persistence of Learning

and much much more…

On the Will to Remember:

“The experimental work on memory ha3 shown one very important thing — namely, that the will to learn has an enormous influence on the amount that can be learned and the speed of learning. It is one of the most important factors in the process of learning, and will do more to increase the actual work done by the memory than almost any other factor mentioned up till now. While attention to the other rules frees the memory from many influences which weaken its strength and blunt its accuracy, it is the will to remember which frees it from its own inertia, and gives it active power.

Most people are unaware what their memory will do, if it is only put to work. Actual experiment has shown that the most astonishing results can be obtained by the mere effort of the will to memorize, quite apart from all tricks and memory systems. One reason for our belief that in childhood our memory was much better is probably the fact that we were then under school discipline, and were drilled to effort by periodic examinations. When pushed by the results of our own negligence, we could easily cram the work of weeks into a day or two. Afterwards, when the motive or compulsion to exert the will in this way is gone, we tend to imagine that our memory too is gone. It has often been noticed that things may be read or repeated an indefinite number of times without being committed to memory, if only the attention is directed at each repetition to some other end than that of learning.”

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