Memory in the Psychical Processes System
As you already know, psychology recognizes several psychic processes: memory, thinking, attention, representation, and sensation. The process of interaction between representation and thinking is called imagination.
We will now briefly examine these processes and the way they influence the memorization process. We should always keep in mind that memorization can be of three types: unintentional, intentional and over-intentional.
The "Memory" Process
By the "Memory" process, we mean connection fixation by the brain. The brain can fix connections in two main ways - more on this later. All that comes into the brain at any given moment is united and connected. This is where the "Memory" process ends.
Memorization becomes impossible when there is a disorder in "Memory" process. Any such disorder is regarded as pathology. The ill suffer either from a short-term memorization disorder (greeting a doctor several times a day) or a long-term memorization disorder (gradual loss of lifetime-achieved habits and skills – reading, writing, unintentional and automatic movement skills). Memory disorders can be both reversible and irreversible.
If you remember your name and your relatives’ names, then you probably have no problem with the "Memory" process; any reason for memorization problems should be researched as a possible disorder of other psychic processes, but not of memory.
The "Attention" Process
Attention realizes the selection of incoming information. If one’s attention becomes extremely unfocused, a person is then unable to concentrate on a cognitive task. Such a patient will not be able to remember a page of text due to his inability to read – unstable attention span and focus do not allow him to do this.
Attention span disorder and attention deficit disorder are two of the reasons for poor performance at school. They can become extreme, to the point where memorization disorder occurs and one becomes unable to think purposefully. Along with such behavior, program realization is harmed. Behavior disorganization occurs. The reason for this behavioral dysfunction is evident when an individual can not complete a desired task due to lack of focus. For example, a man can go shopping for a box of matches in the morning, and return back home in the evening without matches.
In neuro-psychology, pathological attention disorder is called "field behavior." Such patients make many unnecessary movements; their eyes are always wandering.
On the other hand, an extremely stable level of attention is also viewed as pathology. A patient’s thought is "glued" to something, and he cannot switch it to necessary actions. For instance, a patient can sit up on his bed after awakening and spend several hours staring at one spot.
Pathological and controlled attention span should never be confused. In the first case, a patient does not control the process; in the latter, a person intentionally concentrates his attention for a long period of time and then reverts back to a normal state of mind, medium attention instability, and automatic switching of attention.
Psychologists connect attention and will. Although attention and will are two different words, they reflect the same phenomenon. A strong-willed man has a particular ability to control the direction of his attention and is practically never subject to random external signals.
If no pathological disorders exist, one’s attention is easily trained. By training your attention, you train your ability to memorize, think in desired directions, "execute" your plans, and train the will.
Painful attention disorders are most often related to chemical and physical irritation (agitation) of brainstem and reticular formation, those responsible for general brain activation. Chemical disorder of attention span can be a result of excessive use of stimulants (tea, coffee, cigarettes). Physical irritation can be caused by residue that appears in the brain as a result of a trauma (e.g. micro-stroke) in the proximity of the brainstem (occipital part of the head).
The "Representation" Process
The representation process guarantees the invariance of perception. Due to this process, a person can recognize the letter "A" written in thousands of different fonts. We recognize a cat whatever is its size and color, and from any angle.
Computer neuro-program creators have succeeded in modeling representation functions since the neuro-physiological mechanisms of the process are very meticulously described in specialized literature.
The following experience can help others to understand the essence of the representation process: Imagine that you have a thousand pictures of Chinese men. You scan the photos, recording each one on a computer hard drive. Next, you write or install a program that analyzes all of the photos and finds only the similar features in them. Then, the program eliminates all the differences. Only the similarities in these photos remain; this is what psychology defines as the representation. In other words, representation is a rather generalized visual image that contains the most typical features of a group of similar objects.
When you remember visual images, you remember representations, sort of like prototypes or "dummies" that you can do whatever you want with in your imagination.
Why does an awake person not remember very vivid images, but does remember representations? You will be able to answer this question when you become familiar with the holographic principles of how the visual analytical system functions.
A disorder in the representation process is a very serious pathology. Such patients lose the ability to perceive invariably. In other words, they lose the ability to recognize visual images. There is no way they can memorize intentionally and learn things.
The "Sensation" Process
It is this process that helps us to understand how external (and internal) physical and chemical stimuli are transformed into electric impulses. All you perceive – see, hear, touch – is encoded into electric impulses. There is nothing retained in the brain except for electric impulses that run through nerve cell fibers.
Temporary changes in analytical system’s functioning will lead to forgetting what happened to a person in the altered state, i.e. when an organ’s work was impaired or disordered. In order to begin remembering, one will need stimuli. A person cannot receive the same stimuli he experienced in an altered state, so the connections are blocked out and unreachable.
People with certain organ defects of the analytical system or perception are able to memorize and be taught, but such people have to attend special study programs.
The "Thinking" Process
Thinking is an intentional operation which utilizes visual images in one’s imagination. Thinking can be direct, when visual image management occurs without vocal assistance. Thinking can also be a mediator, when a person handles visual images with the help of inner speech. For our purposes, reproductive imagination mechanisms are used to automatically transform words into images.
Thinking can be intentional: a person consciously performs operations utilizing visual images.
Thinking can also be unintentional: images appear randomly in the imagination under the influence of different stimuli.
In neuro-psychology, patients with thinking disorders are said to suffer from Frontal Lobe Syndrome, and are often called "forehead ill." The forehead ill are not capable of memorizing more than four words out of ten, no matter how much time they spend.
Note the fact that thinking, in neuro-psychology, is tested through memorization. Intentional memorization is directly connected with thinking; its efficiency depends on the level of development of mental processes.
Any other mental operations, the so-called logical operations, (comparing, analysis, generalization, etc.) are based on the simplest operation using visual images in the imagination.
A mental processing disorder leads to unintentional memorization, an automatic memorization of perceived connections. People with a processing disorder can orient themselves in the streets and perform the kind of work that does not entail sophisticated intellectual skills. However, intentional and over-intentional memorization become virtually impossible with a mental processes disorder. The memorization system is based on visual thinking. It is with the help of mental operations that an intended control of memorization and the anamnesis with information storage processes are performed in the brain.
If there isn’t any pathology, training our thoughts is easy, though the word "training" is not really appropriate here. The thinking process is not trained when one learns to memorize. A person is trained to perform certain algorithms, operation sequences in the imagination, which lead to memorization.
"Intellect" is a totality of a thinking process - action algorithms aimed at certain tasks realization. You can teach a person to perform a sequence of actions that lead to solving a quadratic equation. You can teach a person to play chess. Obviously, one cannot develop his or her intellect in general. If you learned to solve crosswords or puzzles, you can only become better at solving puzzles or crosswords.
The more programs or action algorithms put into the human brain, the more powerful intellect becomes. Intellect is not a quality, but more of a quantity concept. Let us compare it to a computer… One computer only has a Word program installed in its hard drive memory and nothing else; this computer has low intellect, yet perfectly performs its work. Another computer has hundreds of professional programs installed and has a higher intellect as it is able to perform hundreds of tasks.
You can see now that intellect, or the "number of programs installed," depends directly on memory. If a computer does not have enough memory, you cannot install a more or less sophisticated program on it. Similarly, if a person cannot memorize, different intellectual programs will be "installed" and will run at a very slow pace, if at all.
We can make an important conclusion here: advanced memorization skill is an important precondition to enhancing our intellect. The level of the human intellect depends on how fast and how efficiently it is able to master new algorithms (mental or movement).
It becomes crystal clear that you will not learn to memorize things by solving mathematical equations. When you learn to memorize, you will not become richer. When you learn to earn money, you will not learn to play the piano. You need to master GMS® in order to learn to memorize. To be rich, you need to know schemes and methods of money-making. To play a piano, you need to attend music classes. One cannot become more intelligent in general, in every aspect. However hard you work to develop yourself, you will always find a person who is more intelligent than you are.
Imagination is a process of modeling the past, present, and future on the basis of "Representation" and "Thinking" processes.
To learn to "imagine," you need to place a representation in your imagination – say, a generalized image of a cup. Then, you switch on the thinking process and begin to alter the image in your imagination. You can imagine a red, blue, or green cup, with one handle or four handles, with milk or tea in it or both.
You can now "output" the result of mental activity from your brain – for instance, by describing a picture in your own words or drawing it.
If there is a disorder in the thinking, understanding, and representation areas of the mind, it will cause a disorder in the imagination, your ability to recall, and the ability to analyze the present and forecast the future.