Consummate dilettantism!

Friday, December 19, 2008

How Does He Do It?

A commenter asks:
Wow 7 back , thats some serious dedication. Question, do you just let it happen, or do you use active attention? I have heard that keeping a mental image doesn't work well.
I have also heard it said that doing dual n-back intuitively is the best way to do it. But I can't imagine that it's possible to let your unconscious mind take over entirely. As I said here:
I'm finding the task too easy. (By "easy" I mean that I can and know how to do it, not that it comes effortlessly. In fact, it requires a lot of effort on my part.) At first it was ferociously difficult, but now I'm just memorizing sequences of letters and visualizing them on the grid. (I'm not repeating them aloud, but I am rehearsing the letters and their places in my mind during the interludes.) To jump from 6 to 7 required only a little more concentration, not a shift in thought. [...] I've read what everyone has had to say on doing the task "intuitively," but I can't imagine how one can do 7 n-back [sic -- should be dual 7-back] like this. Without intense concentration and memorization, is it even possible? Is anyone able to do, say, 6 or 7 n-back without really trying?
I don't think so. I am presently able to do dual 3-back with a bare minimum of effort, and I consistently score 100% while paying only a little attention. But I don't do it intuitively; my mind has simply become accustomed to doing the task, and so memorizing the a sequence of 3 has become incredibly easy for me. I "chunk" the sequence -- I compare the current 3 blocks with the 3 blocks in memory while simultaneously memorizing the current 3 blocks. Not attempting to memorize anything is, I think, unrealistic. (But I do sometimes find my fingers being correctly compelled to press "A" or "L" when my conscious mind isn't sure of the answer. I find this fascinating.) I don't, however, make a mental image; I really just visualize the position of the blocks and memorize the sequence of letters. Intuitively, I guess, my mind knows the order of the positions; either that or I memorize the "line" of position progression, which I think is an excellent technique.

Interestingly enough, I find dual 3-back easier than dual 2-back. I'm not really sure why -- perhaps it's because I'm not actually memorizing a sequence in dual 2-back, and so it's easier to lose track of whether the present is really the present or not. It's hard to explain. Has anyone noticed anything similar?

No comments:

Post a Comment