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19 October 2010 @ 01:11 pm
Remember this, SMACK!  
So this is how my brain works. I'm listening to this show on Radiolab about sleep (http://www.radiolab.org/2007/may/24/). Part of the show is about sleep and memory, and they say people are more likely to remember something if it's related to an emotional event. So it occurs to me that if you really want someone to remember something, you should smack them. "Don't forget to take the roast out of the freezer." Smack! That made me wonder if all of those football coaches actually have it right. By yelling at the player, they are creating a strong emotional experience that may help the player remember what they need to do.
Then I thought, that's kind of like negative reinforcement. I wonder if a positive experience would work better. So that experiment would be, tell people to remember a number that's long enough that people remember it about half of the time, then smack them, or show them your boobs*, or do nothing. Then a couple of minutes later, you would ask them to repeat the number, and we see which treatment gives the best results. My money is on boobs.

*Ok, I don't actual have boobs, and whether or not that would be a positive emotional experience would depend on the subject, and the boobs. It's a thought experiment, but some researcher has come up with a consistent, repeatable positive emotional experience that can be used.