Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

It turns out only a tiny portion of your mind is dedicated to conscious behavior. The rest is the subconscious mind regulating our organs, digestion, breathing and even the flashes of insight we get.

The best way to mess up this finely tuned system is to attempt to do even simple things consciously. Some simple examples: if you play the piano, concentrate on your fingers: and if you are a golfer, analyze your swing while you are doing it. This type of memory is called implicit memory, which means that your brain holds this knowledge and your mind cannot explicitly access it. These two types of memory are so distinct you can damage one without hurting the functioning of the other.

An illustration would be research that has been done with patients who cannot consciously recall new experiences in their lives. The researchers spent the afternoon teaching the patients a video game. The next day, the patients said they had no recollection of learning the game and that they had never see it before. When the researchers looked at the patient’s performance, they found the patients improved as much as a group of controls who had no memory problems. This means the implicit part of their brain learned the game and it allowed them to improve their skills.

Another example is with dementia patients. If you read them a story one day and then read the same story the next several days, the dementia patients will become bored even though they have no conscious memory of having heard the story before.

So…if you know someone with dementia, make sure to continue to give them varied activities to do.
(Reported Discover September 2011)

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