Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • So yesterday, I was out in the street

  • in front of this building,

  • and I was walking down the sidewalk,

  • and I had company, several of us,

  • and we were all abiding by the rules

  • of walking down sidewalks.

  • We're not talking each other. We're facing forward.

  • We're moving.

  • When the person in front of me slows down.

  • And so I'm watching him, and he slows down,

  • and finally he stops.

  • Well, that wasn't fast enough for me,

  • so I put on my turn signal, and I walked around him,

  • and as I walked, I looked to see what he was doing,

  • and he was doing this.

  • He was texting,

  • and he couldn't text and walk at the same time.

  • Now we could approach this

  • from a working memory perspective

  • or from a multitasking perspective.

  • We're going to do working memory today.

  • Now, working memory

  • is that part of our consciousness that we are

  • aware of at any given time of day.

  • You're going it right now.

  • It's not something we can turn off.

  • If you turn it off, that's called a coma, okay?

  • So right now, you're doing just fine.

  • Now working memory has four basic components.

  • It allows us to store some immediate experiences

  • and a little bit of knowledge.

  • It allows us to reach back into our long-term memory

  • and pull some of that in as we need it,

  • mixes it, processes it

  • in light of whatever our current goal is.

  • Now the current goal isn't something like,

  • I want to be president or the best surfer in the world.

  • It's more mundane. I'd like that cookie,

  • or I need to figure out how to get into my hotel room.

  • Now working memory capacity

  • is our ability to leverage that,

  • our ability to take what we know

  • and what we can hang onto

  • and leverage it in ways that allow us to satisfy

  • our current goal.

  • Now working memory capacity

  • has a fairly long history,

  • and it's associated with a lot of positive effects.

  • People with high working memory capacity

  • tend to be good storytellers.

  • They tend to solve and do well on standardized tests,

  • however important that is.

  • They're able to have high levels of writing ability.

  • They're also able to reason at high levels.

  • So what we're going to do here is play a little bit with some of that.

  • So I'm going to ask you to perform a couple tasks,

  • and we're going to take your working memory out for a ride.

  • You up for that? Okay.

  • I'm going to give you five words,

  • and I just want you to hang on to them.

  • Don't write them down. Just hang on to them.

  • Five words.

  • While you're hanging on to them, I'm going to ask you to answer three questions.

  • I want to see what happens with those words.

  • So here's the words:

  • tree,

  • highway,

  • mirror,

  • Saturn

  • and electrode.

  • So far so good?

  • Okay. What I want you to do

  • is I want you to tell me what the answer is

  • to 23 times eight.

  • Just shout it out.

  • (Mumbling) (Laughter)

  • In fact it's -- (Mumbling) -- exactly. (Laughter)

  • All right. I want you to take out your left hand

  • and I want you to go, "One, two, three, four, five,

  • six, seven, eight, nine, 10."

  • It's a neurological test, just in case you were wondering.

  • All right, now what I want you to do

  • is to recite the last five letters

  • of the English alphabet backwards.

  • You should have started with Z.

  • (Laughter)

  • All right. How many people here are still pretty sure

  • you've got all five words?

  • Okay. Typically we end up with about less than half,

  • right, which is normal. There will be a range.

  • Some people can hang on to five.

  • Some people can hang on to 10.

  • Some will be down to two or three.

  • What we know is this is really important to the way we function, right?

  • And it's going to be really important here at TED

  • because you're going to be exposed to so many different ideas.

  • Now the problem that we have

  • is that life comes at us,

  • and it comes at us very quickly,

  • and what we need to do is to take that amorphous

  • flow of experience and somehow

  • extract meaning from it

  • with a working memory

  • that's about the size of a pea.

  • Now don't get me wrong, working memory is awesome.

  • Working memory allows us

  • to investigate our current experience

  • as we move forward.

  • It allows us to make sense of the world around us.

  • But it does have certain limits.

  • Now working memory is great for allowing us to communicate.

  • We can have a conversation,

  • and I can build a narrative around that

  • so I know where we've been and where we're going

  • and how to contribute to this conversation.

  • It allows us to problem-solve, critical think.

  • We can be in the middle of a meeting,

  • listen to somebody's presentation, evaluate it,

  • decide whether or not we like it,

  • ask follow-up questions.

  • All of that occurs within working memory.

  • It also allows us to go to the store

  • and allows us to get milk and eggs and cheese

  • when what we're really looking for

  • is Red Bull and bacon. (Laughter)

  • Gotta make sure we're getting what we're looking for.

  • Now, a central issue with working memory

  • is that it's limited.

  • It's limited in capacity, limited in duration,

  • limited in focus.

  • We tend to remember about four things.

  • Okay? It used to be seven,

  • but with functional MRIs, apparently it's four,

  • and we were overachieving.

  • Now we can remember those four things

  • for about 10 to 20 seconds

  • unless we do something with it,

  • unless we process it, unless we apply it to something,

  • unless we talk to somebody about it.

  • When we think about working memory,

  • we have to realize that this limited capacity

  • has lots of different impacts on us.

  • Have you ever walked from one room to another

  • and then forgotten why you're there?

  • You do know the solution to that, right?

  • You go back to that original room. (Laughter)

  • Have you ever forgotten your keys?

  • You ever forgotten your car?

  • You ever forgotten your kids?

  • Have you ever been involved in a conversation,

  • and you realize that the conversation to your left

  • is actually more interesting? (Laughter)

  • So you're nodding and you're smiling,

  • but you're really paying attention to this one over here,

  • until you hear that last word go up,

  • and you realize,

  • you've been asked a question. (Laughter)

  • And you're really hoping the answer is no,

  • because that's what you're about to say.

  • All of that talks about working memory,

  • what we can do and what we can't do.

  • We need to realize that working memory

  • has a limited capacity,

  • and that working memory capacity itself is how we negotiate that.

  • We negotiate that through strategies.

  • So what I want to do is talk a little bit about a couple of strategies here,

  • and these will be really important

  • because you are now in an information target-rich environment

  • for the next several days.

  • Now the first part of this that we need to think about

  • and we need to process our existence, our life,

  • immediately and repeatedly.

  • We need to process what's going on

  • the moment it happens, not 10 minutes later,

  • not a week later, at the moment.

  • So we need to think about, well, do I agree with him?

  • What's missing? What would I like to know?

  • Do I agree with the assumptions?

  • How can I apply this in my life?

  • It's a way of processing what's going on

  • so that we can use it later.

  • Now we also need to repeat it. We need to practice.

  • So we need to think about it here.

  • In between, we want to talk to people about it.

  • We're going to write it down, and when you get home,

  • pull out those notes and think about them

  • and end up practicing over time.

  • Practice for some reason became a very negative thing.

  • It's very positive.

  • The next thing is, we need to think elaboratively

  • and we need to think illustratively.

  • Oftentimes, we think that we have to relate new knowledge to prior knowledge.

  • What we want to do is spin that around.

  • We want to take all of our existence

  • and wrap it around that new knowledge

  • and make all of these connections and it becomes more meaningful.

  • We also want to use imagery. We are built for images.

  • We need to take advantage of that.

  • Think about things in images,

  • write things down that way.

  • If you read a book, pull things up.

  • I just got through reading "The Great Gatsby,"

  • and I have a perfect idea of what he looks like

  • in my head, so my own version.

  • The last one is organization and support.

  • We are meaning-making machines. It's what we do.

  • We try to make meaning out of everything that happens to us.

  • Organization helps, so we need to structure

  • what we're doing in ways that make sense.

  • If we are providing knowledge and experience,

  • we need to structure that.

  • And the last one is support.

  • We all started as novices.

  • Everything we do is an approximation of sophistication.

  • We should expect it to change over time. We have to support that.

  • The support may come in asking people questions,

  • giving them a sheet of paper that has an organizational chart on it

  • or has some guiding images,

  • but we need to support it.

  • Now, the final piece of this, the take-home message

  • from a working memory capacity standpoint is this:

  • what we process, we learn.

  • If we're not processing life, we're not living it.

  • Live life. Thank you.

  • (Applause)

So yesterday, I was out in the street

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

A2 US TED working memory memory working capacity limited

【TED】Peter Doolittle: How your "working memory" makes sense of the world (Peter Doolittle: How your "working memory" makes sense of the world)

  • 1708 84
    PP posted on 2015/08/23
Video vocabulary