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  • I'd like to invite you to close your eyes.

    請大家跟我一起閉上眼睛

  • Imagine yourself standing

    想象一下 你站在

  • outside the front door of your home.

    自己家門外

  • I'd like you to notice the color of the door,

    請留心一下門的顏色

  • the material that it's made out of.

    以及門的材質

  • Now visualize a pack of overweight nudists on bicycles.

    現在請想象一群超重的裸騎者

  • They are competing in a naked bicycle race,

    正在進行一場裸體自行車賽

  • and they are headed straight for your front door.

    向你的前門直沖而來

  • I need you to actually see this.

    盡量讓畫面栩栩如生近在眼前

  • They are pedaling really hard, they're sweaty,

    他們都在奮力地踩腳踏板 汗流浹背

  • they're bouncing around a lot.

    路面非常顛簸

  • And they crash straight into the front door of your home.

    然後徑直撞進了你家前門

  • Bicycles fly everywhere, wheels roll past you,

    自行車四下飛散 車輪從你身旁滾過

  • spokes end up in awkward places.

    輻條紮進了各種尷尬角落

  • Step over the threshold of your door

    跨過門檻

  • into your foyer, your hallway, whatever's on the other side,

    進到門廳 走廊 和門裏的其他地方

  • and appreciate the quality of the light.

    室內光線柔和舒適

  • The light is shining down on Cookie Monster.

    光線灑在餅乾怪獸(芝麻街人物)身上

  • Cookie Monster is waving at you

    他坐在一匹棕色駿馬的馬背上

  • from his perch on top of a tan horse.

    向你招手

  • It's a talking horse.

    這匹馬會說話

  • You can practically feel his blue fur tickling your nose.

    你可以感覺到怪物的藍色鬃毛讓你鼻子發癢

  • You can smell the oatmeal raisin cookie that he's about to shovel into his mouth.

    你可以聞到他正要扔進嘴裏的葡萄燕麥曲奇的香氣

  • Walk past him. Walk past him into your living room.

    繞過他. 繞過他走進客廳

  • In your living room, in full imaginative broadband,

    站在客廳裏 把你的想象力調到最大檔

  • picture Britney Spears.

    想象小甜甜布蘭妮

  • She is scantily clad, she's dancing on your coffee table,

    她衣著性感 在你咖啡桌上跳舞

  • and she's singing "Hit Me Baby One More Time."

    並唱著"Hit Me Baby One More Time"

  • And then follow me into your kitchen.

    接下來 跟著我走進你的廚房

  • In your kitchen, the floor has been paved over with a yellow brick road

    廚房的地面被一道黃磚路覆蓋

  • and out of your oven are coming towards you

    依次鉆出你的烤箱向你走來的是

  • Dorothy, the Tin Man,

    《綠野仙蹤》裏的多蘿西 鐵皮人

  • the Scarecrow and the Lion from "The Wizard of Oz,"

    稻草人 和獅子

  • hand-in-hand skipping straight towards you.

    他們手挽著手 蹦蹦跳跳地向你走來

  • Okay. Open your eyes.

    好了 睜開眼睛吧

  • I want to tell you about a very bizarre contest

    我要給你們講一個每年春天在紐約

  • that is held every spring in New York City.

    都會舉辦的奇異競賽

  • It's called the United States Memory Championship.

    叫做全美記憶冠軍賽

  • And I had gone to cover this contest a few years back

    幾年前我作為一名科技類記者

  • as a science journalist

    去報導這項競賽

  • expecting, I guess, that this was going to be

    我期待這是一個

  • like the Superbowl of savants.

    像是學者們的超級盃

  • This was a bunch of guys and a few ladies,

    參加比賽的是一群男人 以及少數女人

  • widely varying in both age and hygienic upkeep.

    橫跨相當大的年齡層且衛生習慣上大不相同

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • They were memorizing hundreds of random numbers,

    他們在記憶幾百個隨機數

  • looking at them just once.

    卻僅僅看那些數字一眼

  • They were memorizing the names of dozens and dozens and dozens of strangers.

    他們記很多陌生人名

  • They were memorizing entire poems in just a few minutes.

    他們在幾分鍾內記憶整首詩

  • They were competing to see who could memorize

    他們競爭來看誰能

  • the order of a shuffled pack of playing cards the fastest.

    最快記住一副洗亂的牌

  • I was like, this is unbelievable.

    我覺得這難以想象

  • These people must be freaks of nature.

    這些人一定是異類

  • And I started talking to a few of the competitors.

    所以我開始和他們交流

  • This is a guy called Ed Cook

    有一個叫艾德·庫克的人

  • who had come over from England

    是英格蘭人

  • where he had one of the best trained memories.

    在那裏他是記憶力最好的人之一

  • And I said to him, "Ed, when did you realize

    我說 艾德你什麽時候意識到

  • that you were a savant?"

    你是這種專家?

  • And Ed was like, "I'm not a savant.

    他說 我不是專家

  • In fact, I have just an average memory.

    我的記憶力很普通

  • Everybody who competes in this contest

    這個比賽中的所有人

  • will tell you that they have just an average memory.

    都會告訴你他們的記憶力很普通

  • We've all trained ourselves

    我們訓練我們自己

  • to perform these utterly miraculous feats of memory

    來完成這種幾乎不可思議的任務

  • using a set of ancient techniques,

    用的只是一些很古老的技巧

  • techniques invented 2,500 years ago in Greece,

    在2500年前的希臘就有了

  • the same techniques that Cicero had used

    這個西斯羅用來記憶演講

  • to memorize his speeches,

    是同一個技術

  • that medieval scholars had used to memorize entire books."

    也是醫學學者來背醫書的技巧

  • And I was like, "Whoa. How come I never heard of this before?"

    我問 喔 我怎麽從來沒聽說過?

  • And we were standing outside the competition hall,

    然後我們站在競賽大堂外面

  • and Ed, who is a wonderful, brilliant,

    艾德 一個很妙的 聰明的

  • but somewhat eccentric English guy,

    但有些奇怪的英國人

  • says to me, "Josh, you're an American journalist.

    告訴我 約什 你是一個美國記者

  • Do you know Britney Spears?"

    你認識小甜甜布蘭妮(歌手)嗎?

  • I'm like, "What? No. Why?"

    我說 什麽 不認識 問著幹嘛

  • "Because I really want to teach Britney Spears

    因爲我真的想教會小甜甜布蘭妮

  • how to memorize the order of a shuffled pack of playing cards

    如何記憶撲克牌順序

  • on U.S. national television.

    在美國國家電視台上

  • It will prove to the world that anybody can do this."

    這樣就能證明每個人都行

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • I was like, "Well I'm not Britney Spears,

    我說 我不是小甜甜布蘭妮

  • but maybe you could teach me.

    但也許你能教我

  • I mean, you've got to start somewhere, right?"

    我說 咱們開始吧

  • And that was the beginning of a very strange journey for me.

    這對于我來說是一段奇異的旅行

  • I ended up spending the better part of the next year

    在最後 我花了第二年的很長時間

  • not only training my memory,

    不僅用來訓練記憶力

  • but also investigating it,

    更研究它

  • trying to understand how it works,

    嘗試弄懂它如何有效運作

  • why it sometimes doesn't work

    爲什麽有時候又沒有效

  • and what its potential might be.

    它的潛能何在

  • I met a host of really interesting people.

    我遇到了很多很有趣的人

  • This is a guy called E.P.

    有一個叫E.P.

  • He's an amnesic who had, very possibly,

    他是一個健忘症患者 也許有著

  • the very worst memory in the world.

    世界上最糟糕的記憶力

  • His memory was so bad

    他的記憶力太不好

  • that he didn't even remember he had a memory problem,

    甚至於他不記得他有記憶的問題

  • which is amazing.

    這多麽神奇!

  • And he was this incredibly tragic figure,

    他就是這樣一個悲劇的人

  • but he was a window into the extent

    但它反映了

  • to which our memories make us who we are.

    記憶能把我們變成什麽

  • The other end of the spectrum: I met this guy.

    在另一個極端 我遇見了這個人

  • This is Kim Peek.

    他叫金·匹克

  • He was the basis for Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie "Rain Man."

    他就是達斯汀·霍夫曼電影“雨人”的原型

  • We spent an afternoon together

    他花一個下午

  • in the Salt Lake City Public Library memorizing phone books,

    在鹽湖城公共圖書館記電話號

  • which was scintillating.

    這閃爍著光芒

  • (Laughter)

    (笑聲)

  • And I went back and I read a whole host of memory treatises,

    然後我回去讀了很多關于記憶的文章

  • treatises written 2,000-plus years ago

    在兩千多年前寫的

  • in Latin in Antiquity

    用拉丁文寫的

  • and then later in the Middle Ages.

    然後就是在中世紀寫的

  • And I learned a whole bunch of really interesting stuff.

    我學到了很多有趣的事

  • One of the really interesting things that I learned

    其中一個就是

  • is that once upon a time,

    從前

  • this idea of having a trained, disciplined, cultivated memory

    擁有訓練精良的、有系統的、深耕的記憶力的這種觀念

  • was not nearly so alien as it would seem to us to be today.

    不像現在這麽陌生少見

  • Once upon a time, people invested in their memories,

    從前人們努力訓練記憶力

  • in laboriously furnishing their minds.

    在刻苦地佈置他的心智的

  • Over the last few millennia

    在過去的幾千年裏

  • we've invented a series of technologies --

    我們發明了一系列的技術——

  • from the alphabet to the scroll

    從字母表到滾軸

  • to the codex, the printing press, photography,

    到手抄本 印刷出版,到 攝影

  • the computer, the smartphone --

    到電腦,到智慧型手機——

  • that have made it progressively easier and easier

    這些都把記憶變得愈來愈簡單

  • for us to externalize our memories,

    對我們而言更具象化我們的記憶

  • for us to essentially outsource

    讓我們外包

  • this fundamental human capacity.

    這個把這些基本人類能力

  • These technologies have made our modern world possible,

    這些科技實現了現代的世界

  • but they've also changed us.

    但他們也改變了我們

  • They've changed us culturally,

    他們在文化角度f上改變了我們

  • and I would argue that they've changed us cognitively.

    而我會說這些從認知上改變了我們

  • Having little need to remember anymore,

    幾乎不再需要記什麽東西再了

  • it sometimes seems like we've forgotten how.

    有時我們似乎忘記了如何記憶

  • One of the last places on Earth

    地球上最後一塊

  • where you still find people passionate about this idea

    你還能夠找到熱衷於於這種觀念

  • of a trained, disciplined, cultivated memory

    這種訓練精良的、有序的、深耕的記憶力的概念的人

  • is at this totally singular memory contest.

    就是在完全唯一的記憶競賽裏了

  • It's actually not that singular,

    其實也不是唯一

  • there are contests held all over the world.

    在全世界都有這樣的競賽

  • And I was fascinated, I wanted to know how do these guys do it.

    並且我很好奇 我想知道那些人如何辦到的?

  • A few years back a group of researchers at University College London

    幾年前一夥研究人員在倫敦大學

  • brought a bunch of memory champions into the lab.

    把一些記憶冠軍們帶到了實驗室

  • They wanted to know:

    他們想知道

  • Do these guys have brains

    這些人

  • that are somehow structurally, anatomically different from the rest of ours?

    有結構上 生理上與其他人有不同的大腦嗎?

  • The answer was no.

    答案是否定的

  • Are they smarter than the rest of us?

    他們是比我們更聰明嗎?

  • They gave them a bunch of cognitive tests,

    他們進行了一系列認知測試

  • and the answer was not really.

    並且得到的答案也是不盡然

  • There was however one really interesting and telling difference

    然而的確有一個有趣的且分辨得出來的不同

  • between the brains of the memory champions

    在這些記憶冠軍的大腦

  • and the control subjects that they were comparing them to.

    和控制組的大腦裏

  • When they put these guys in an fMRI machine,

    當他們用功能性核磁共振照影下

  • scanned their brains

    掃描他們的腦

  • while they were memorizing numbers and people's faces and pictures of snowflakes,

    當正在記憶數字、人們的臉、 雪片的圖像時

  • they found that the memory champions

    他們發現記憶冠軍們

  • were lighting up different parts of the brain

    亮起的大腦部份

  • than everyone else.

    有別於其他人

  • Of note, they were using, or they seemed to be using,

    他們在用

  • a part of the brain that's involved in spatial memory and navigation.

    一個關於空間記憶和導航的那部分大腦

  • Why? And is there something the rest of us can learn from this?

    爲什麽?那我們又能學到什麽?

  • The sport of competitive memorizing

    記憶競賽

  • is driven by a kind of arms race

    被一種軍備競賽驅動

  • where every year somebody comes up

    在這裏每年一些人來到

  • with a new way to remember more stuff more quickly,

    同時帶來一些新的記憶方法

  • and then the rest of the field has to play catchup.

    然後其他人要趕緊追上來

  • This is my friend Ben Pridmore,

    這是我的朋友本·普裏蒂莫

  • three-time world memory champion.

    三次世界記憶冠軍

  • On his desk in front of him

    在他的台前

  • are 36 shuffled packs of playing cards

    有三十六副打亂順序的牌

  • that he is about to try to memorize in one hour,

    他要在一個小時內全部記下來

  • using a technique that he invented and he alone has mastered.

    用的是一種他自己發明的 也只有他會的技巧

  • He used a similar technique

    用與此類似的方法

  • to memorize the precise order

    他曾一字不差地背下了

  • of 4,140 random binary digits

    4140個任意排列的二進制數

  • in half an hour.

    只用了半個小時

  • Yeah.

    很神吧!

  • And while there are a whole host of ways

    參賽者在這些競賽中

  • of remembering stuff in these competitions,

    運用過很多不同的記憶方法

  • everything, all of the techniques that are being used,

    各式各樣 被運用到的所有技巧

  • ultimately come down to a concept

    最終都能歸化爲一個概念

  • that psychologists refer to as elaborative encoding.

    心理學家稱之爲"精細編碼"

  • And it's well illustrated by a nifty paradox

    這個概念能用一則幽默的矛盾完美圖示

  • known as the Baker/baker paradox,

    叫做貝克矛盾

  • which goes like this:

    簡單說來就是

  • If I tell two people to remember the same word,

    假設我讓兩個人去記同一個詞

  • if I say to you,

    我跟你說

  • "Remember that there is a guy named Baker."

    "記住有個人叫貝克"

  • That's his name.

    貝克是人名

  • And I say to you, "Remember that there is a guy who is a baker."

    我又來告訴你 "記住有個人是麵包師父(英文和貝克一樣)"

  • And I come back to you at some point later on,

    過了一段時間我又回來找到你們

  • and I say, "Do you remember that word

    問 "還記得我之前

  • that I told you a while back?

    叫你們記住的那個詞嗎?"

  • Do you remember what it was?"

    ”還記得是什麽詞嗎?“

  • The person who was told his name is Baker

    被告知人名是貝克的人

  • is less likely to remember the same word

    記住這個詞的可能性遠不如

  • than the person was told his job is that he is a baker.

    被告知職業是麵包師父的那個人

  • Same word, different amount of remembering; that's weird.

    同樣的詞 導致不同的記憶程度

  • What's going on here?

    到底是爲什麽呢

  • Well the name Baker doesn't actually mean anything to you.

    是因爲 人名Baker沒有任何特殊含義

  • It is entirely untethered

    沒法跟你腦海裏

  • from all of the other memories floating around in your skull.

    零碎繁雜的記憶産生任何聯系

  • But the common noun baker,

    但是麵包師父作爲一個常用名詞

  • we know bakers.

    我們都知道麵包師父是什麽

  • Bakers wear funny white hats.

    麵包師父戴著好笑的白帽子

  • Bakers have flour on their hands.

    他們手上沾滿了麵粉

  • Bakers smell good when they come home from work.

    他們下班回到家帶著撲鼻的烤麵包香

  • Maybe we even know a baker.

    甚至於我們還可能真的認識一個朋友是麵包師父

  • And when we first hear that word,

    我們初次聽到這個詞時

  • we start putting these associational hooks into it

    馬上就開始産生各種各樣的聯想連結

  • that make it easier to fish it back out at some later date.

    這使我們能在一段時間後還能勾起回憶

  • The entire art of what is going on

    其實 要理解記憶競賽中的

  • in these memory contests

    一切奧妙

  • and the entire art of remembering stuff better in everyday life

    或在日常生活中改善記憶力的秘訣

  • is figuring out ways to transform capital B Bakers

    僅僅在于想辦法把Baker中的大寫B

  • into lower-case B bakers --

    變爲麵包師父(baker)中的小寫b

  • to take information that is lacking in context,

    把沒有前因後果

  • in significance, in meaning

    沒有重要性 沒有涵義的資訊

  • and transform it in some way

    用某種方法轉化爲

  • so that it becomes meaningful

    有意義的內容

  • in the light of all the other things that you have in your mind.

    跟腦海裏的其他記憶串聯起來

  • One of the more elaborate techniques for doing this

    這種精確記憶的技巧

  • dates back 2,500 years to Ancient Greece.

    在兩千五百年前的古希臘就已出現

  • It came to be known as the memory palace.

    後來將其稱爲記憶宮殿

  • The story behind its creation goes like this:

    發明這種技巧的過程如下

  • There was a poet called Simonides

    有個叫做西蒙奈德的詩人

  • who was attending a banquet.

    他要去參加一個晚宴

  • He was actually the hired entertainment,

    其實他算是被請去做表演嘉賓的

  • because back then if you wanted to throw a really slamming party,

    因爲在那個年代 炫酷派對的標准

  • you didn't hire a D.J., you hired a poet.

    不是請D.J.來打碟 而是要請詩人來頌詩

  • And he stands up, delivers his poem from memory, walks out the door,

    他站起來 背出了他的全篇詩作 然後潇灑離去

  • and at the moment he does, the banquet hall collapses,

    他剛走出門口 晚宴大廳就塌了

  • kills everybody inside.

    砸死了裏面所有的人

  • It doesn't just kill everybody,

    不僅全體死亡

  • it mangles the bodies beyond all recognition.

    所有的死者都被砸得面目全非

  • Nobody can say who was inside,

    沒人說得清死者都有些誰

  • nobody can say where they were sitting.

    沒人說得清誰坐在哪兒