I appreciate the irony of not being able to remember an article about memory...
March 20, 2011 4:14 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find an article that I remember skimming but never fully read - it was about studying techniques, and in particular I remember that it recommended studying in different physical locations, since your brain tended to treat the information as "new" when you read it again from a different place.

My google-fu is failing me and I can't find this article again, does anyone know what I'm talking about? I think I encountered it in the past few years, maybe at MeFi, maybe elsewhere on the web. This has been driving me crazy - help!
posted by ukdanae to Grab Bag (4 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Forget What You Know about Good Study Habits?
posted by reren at 4:56 AM on March 20, 2011 [4 favorites]

Interesting. Thanks - I hope we can find the article.


I do know that I experience this, and it's quite obvious to me. I benefit immensely from working in different environments. Helps focus. Probably retention too, though I haven't examined that as closely. I'm a very quick thinker, but easily bored and distracted. If I simply go to a different place to work than I'm used to, I can focus much better.

And it seems that more noise in a working environment can be better - as long as the noise isn't related to what we're working on. E.g. the bustle in a busy cafe distracts what needs distraction, giving the "adult" part of us space to work. Conversely, at work, only a moderate amount of background conversation seems - to the cognitive input filters - to be pertinent to the task at hand - although it really isn't - so focus tends to "bleed off" the task at hand.

Perhaps when the study material is fixed, and the environment is varying, our cognition can be helped to see what the singular point of study is. By the contrast between what is fixed and what is varying.

I'd guess that it's also a stimulation-related thing.
posted by krilli at 5:13 AM on March 20, 2011

It sounds like something Cal Newport wrote about on Study Hacks. It's mentioned briefly here, (in the answer to the second question) but I seem to remember him writing an article about it.
posted by OLechat at 6:07 AM on March 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you reren, that's the article! And thanks for pointing me to study hacks, OLechat, that's a new one for my RSS reader! I tend to have a mind like krilli's where I'm easily distracted, so I can use all the help I can get. Thanks guys, this has been bugging me!
posted by ukdanae at 7:21 AM on March 20, 2011

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