Welcome to the College Prep Confidential Podcast
June 30, 2019

CPC Episode #9 - Optimize your memory using this invention by "Napoleon's Scientist"

Want to build a memory like a steel trap for your ACT and SAT exams? Then let's pull back the curtain to reveal tips like... A form of handwriting, popularized by old ladies, which earned higher SAT scores A device to turn on the light switch in your...

Want to build a memory like a steel trap for your ACT and SAT exams? Then let's pull back the curtain to reveal tips like...

  • A form of handwriting, popularized by old ladies, which earned higher SAT scores
  • A device to turn on the light switch in your brain
  • Record your thoughts using this device to get smarter
  • How a power outage improves your memory
  • Eliminate distractions using this "guided missile" brain bundle technology
  • What a 4 year old can show you about learning acceleration
  • Where to get concentrated notes prepared by ACT and SAT experts for pocket change

Welcome to College Prep Confidential, and you'll discover a powerful memory technique, In Episode 9 titled, Optimize your memory using this invention by "Napoleon's Scientist"

When my daughter turned 3, we had her watch a set of DVD's called Sight Words. The DVD shows the words on screen, and then repeats the word 3 times. Stella watched the Sight words videos and did a decent job on remember letters and words. But when she turned 4, we changed tactics, and tried something different. We had her use a little tool, invented by one of Napoleon's soldiers, a long time ago. And after using this tool, my daughter's recall of letters and words skyrocketed. And it's all based on the science of haptics, or touch. And what was this mysterious tool, from over 225 years ago which transformed my daughter's letter and word recall?

A pencil... 

The modern pencil was invented in 1795 by Nicholas-Jacques Conte, a scientist serving in the army of Napoleon Bonaparte. The magic material we use to record our thoughts was the form of pure carbon that we call graphite. It was first discovered in Europe, in Bavaria at the start of the fifteenth century; although the Aztecs had used it as a marker several hundred years earlier

And it's the pencil which helped my daughter's memory. She used worksheets, where you take a pencil and trace over the letters. As she did this for a few weeks, her letter and word recall made significant leaps. Shortly after, she started writing out holiday and birthday cards, all from the power of memory. The memory increase is explained by a science called haptics. The hand and the brain have a powerful connection, and writing stimulates this connection. This should come as no surprise, knowing our deep history with writing.

So important was writing to the Mesopotamians that, under the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal (685-627 BCE) over 30,000 clay tablet books were collected in the library of his capital at Nineveh. Ashurbanipal was hoping to preserve the heritage, culture, and history of the region and understood clearly the importance of the written word in achieving this end. Among the many books in his library, Ashurbanipal included works of literature, such as the tale of Gilgamesh or the story of Etana, because he realized that literature articulates not just the story of a certain people, but of all people

Handwriting embraces the old Chinese Proverb:

Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand

Putting pen (or pencil) to paper stimulates the brain like nothing else, even in this age of e-mails, texts and tweets. In fact, it’s not just normal handwriting which powers up your memory. Learning to write in cursive is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.

The College Board found that students who wrote in cursive for the essay portion of the SAT scored slightly higher than those who printed.

As a result, the physical act of writing in cursive leads to increased comprehension and participation. Interestingly, a few years ago, the College Board found that students who wrote in cursive for the essay portion of the SAT scored slightly higher than those who printed, which experts believe is because the speed and efficiency of writing in cursive allowed the students to focus on the content of their essays.

Science comes to our aid once again, by showing how handwriting improves memory. And it involves a piece of our brain which works like a guided missile system. In the guided missile system, you choose a target and the missile locks on to the target and ignores everything else. It turns out, our brains have something similar...

The Science Behind Handwriting

Handwriting is more effective, thanks to our brains’ “command center” called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The RAS is a productive network of cells that connects our cortex to our brain stem. Because this system is responsible for attention, alertness and motivation, it does best when engaged through multiple senses and physical movement. In fact, another study at the University of Austin, TX found that writing just a few sentences in a daily journal strengthens T-lymphocytes, an important category of immune cells.

Studies have also taken this a step further to demonstrate that cursive writing improves memory and makes us smarter. For school children, learning cursive allows the brain to develop functional specialization that integrates sensation, movement control and thinking.

This is why when the power goes out, or you turn off your computer, or you don't have your laptop, you'll be forced to handwrite, notes, journal entries, and thoughts, which makes you retain information. 

When you handwrite, your hand-brain connection has a focus. Everything else gets filtered out.

The Reticular Activating System helps with that. The Reticular Activating System(RAS) is a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information so the important stuff gets through. ... Your RAS takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it.

The reticular activating system (RAS) is an area of our brain that serves as a type of filter. The RAS determines what we notice and what we don’t notice. Most of the time our brain works overtime to help us tune out unimportant information so we don’t go crazy with data overload. At the same time, our RAS works like a laser-guided missile system in pursuit of a target. When we do decide to focus on what’s most important, our brains are hard-wired to go after it. We see what we are looking for.

More evidence from the Journal of Education Psychology

“Taking organized notes presumably involves deeper and more thorough processing of the lecture information, whereas transcribing requires only a shallow encoding of the information,” they explained.

Research from psychology professor Karin James of Indiana University evaluated children who hadn’t yet learned to read or write.

Published in Trends in Neuroscience and Education, her study engaged children by asking them to reproduce a single letter by typing it, drawing it on plain paper, or tracing it over a dotted outline.

Then the researchers put the children in a functional MRI brain scanner and had them study the image again.

While reviewing the image, scans showed that kids who drew the letters activated three distinct areas of their brains.

Brains of children who traced or typed the letter didn’t experience the same effect.

The study demonstrates the learning benefits of physically writing letters, James notes, especially the gains that come from engaging the brain’s motor pathways.

All of this is brought to you by the science of haptics. Haptics is any form of interaction involving touch. Haptics is the science and technology of transmitting and understanding information through touch. 

Handwriting removes distractions, versus you typing on the computer, where the Internet and endless distraction are a click away. handwriting Engages different areas of the brain. Lights up certain circuits.

Furthermore, brain imaging studies (using fMRI, i.e., functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) show that the specific hand movements involved in handwriting support the visual recognition of letters. so let's take the theoretical and the science, and turn it into functional practice...

Your Handwriting Homework Exercises

To sharpen your mind, make handwriting a daily routine by doing the following:

  1. Journal. Faithfully keep a daily journal; write at least one sentence in it per day.
  2. Jot. Write down what you need to remember as soon as it comes to your mind. Complete sentences aren't necessary; jot down key words, times, etc. to help you remember.
  3. Note. Rather than pull out your phone and type, carry a stack of sticky notes around and hand them to coworkers or family and friends.
  4. Write. You’ll enjoy handwriting more if you enjoy what you’re writing with. Find a favorite pen or paper to make your handwriting experience more rewarding. 
  5. Bonus Tip - Write every 5th or 10th line with your weak hand. By using your weak hand, you engage more areas of your brain. 

It's amazing how something so simple, so ancient, can sharpen your memory.  and I'd like to help you sharpen your memory even more...

To focus your writing like the guided missile system, I've put together a collection of ACT and SAT notes. Handwrite these out, and you'll retain more of what matters on the SAT, and ignore the things that don't. These notes have been concentrated to highlight the important topics on ACT and SAT. And you can have them, for just $1. You'll find this special offer at cpcshow.com. That's c-p-c-show.com. thanks for listening, and I'll see you next week.