Updated: Mar 22, 2022
Your brain - supercomputer
Your brain is a computer. It’s the best computer on the planet because it can process so much, so quickly, and control every part of your body while doing it. If you are walking down the street and suddenly you hear with your ears that awful sound - Wahhhhhhhhahahahahah - your ears send electrical impulses to your brain - WARNING - SEAGULL ATTACK. In a heartbeat, your brain recalls what you know about seagulls - 1) they’re awful 2) they’re loud 3) they love to poop on people. Your brain makes a decision. Take evasive action - run away! Your brain fires electrical impulses (electrons shooting around) to make your leg muscles contract to start running, your arms to go above your head, and, sadly because you were too slow, your mouth to shout, “Noooooooooooooo...there’s bird poo on my head!”. Nothing can beat a seagull.
”Memory is the diary that we all carry with us” - Oscar Wilde
Your memory is everything. It helps you to flush the toilet rather than sticking your head in it. You know to eat chickens and not eat slugs. All eminently useful information to save you. How did you remember it? Well, the slug thing is simplistic. When you were very young, you probably picked up a juicy, bulbous, fat slug and were just about to pop it in your mouth (it’s all food, right?) when your mom came screaming over, “Noooooo ooooo ooooooooo it’saslug...youcan’teat..slug....s.....putitdownandnever ....ever...eat...slugs again.” Wow - thank you mom. She kept telling you to never, ever eat slugs whenever you saw one, sooooo you don’t. Through constant repetition...repetition...repetition...repetition, you remembered and encoded a memory in your brain.
Is that significant?
Inside your brain, your hippocampus and frontal cortex have the job of deciding if something is important and vital or unnecessary and superfluous. If it’s highly important, like the slug thing, you’ll remember it. If it’s not, like 10 vocabulary words on a vocabulary test that you only have to know for about 15 minutes, you’ll forget. The brain only remembers events and information that your brain deems significant. You may think that repeating something makes it important, but it doesn’t. Emotions like happiness, horror, sadness, humour, and joy are easy to remember. Look at the vocabulary practice in this unit. If you write a word and its definition, your brain won’t think it’s important at all. If you write a hilarious sentence with a hilarious image, it becomes memorable and important. Your brain will now remember it! Don’t forget that. Some really talented people use a memory palace. Whenever you want to remember a word like juxtapose (to put two different things together), you close your eyes, walk into your palace, walk over the golden floor, walk into your word room with pale blue walls, and you grab a banana and squish it on top of the word. Then, grab a birthday cake and squash it together. Now, you just need to remember how you juxtaposed those two things together!!!