Dr. JoAnn Deak talks about memory and how it works

I spent some more time today listening to Dr. Deak talk about memory and how it works.

Main takeaways:

  • Memory should be used sparingly because it is exhausting to the brain and an artificial practice
  • Memory can be useful, but teachers should always check themselves when asking students to memorize

Here are my notes from the session:

  • on gameplay

    • Gameplay depends on the type of game and the purpose of playing it
    •  can get confusing if you are playing games because it is more fun, not because it is better
    • Nintendo DS brain games are well designed by a neurologist
  • Sleep interference means the brain will not grow as well as if it was not interfered with

    • text messages at night are literally decreasing IQ's
  • there are 5-7 things universities/companies are looking for, and we must be looking at

  • Parent education is an essential part of this

    • if you don't train parents they will be scared off and head to other schools
  • Teachers who use too much negative emotion or anger in their voice diminishes the learning of girls


  • the brain tries to forget everything as soon as it is done using it unless:

    • it is meaningful
    • or the brain thinks it needs it to survive
    • or you use extraordinary technique
  • we teach the brain to memorize
  • 1. working (prefrontal cortex) 2. short term 3. long term (hippocampus)
  • to convert from working to short term memory, something has to happen

    • when using someone's strength (big rubberband) they move it to short term memory easily
    • hard part: when do you use a big rubberband and when do you make it use a shorter one?
    • if you enter into visual, auditory, and motoric memory, it will have a better chance of retrieval
    • when using a small rubberband, increase repetitions
    • when stored in long term, the hippocampus knows exactly where to pull it from - orchestrates the answer (might be in many places in the brain)
    • how you put something in the brain is the same way it is going to come out - constraining variable
  • Keys to memory

    • attach emotion to it - make it meaningful
    • repetition - depends on the size of rubberband used - inversely proportional
    • which rubber bands you use
    • mnemonic devices

image by: Jens Langner