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  • This episode is supported by The Great Courses Plus.

    這集影片由 The Great Courses Plus 贊助播出

  • Hi, I’m Thomas Frank, this is Crash Course Study Skills,

    嗨!我是 Thomas Frank ,這裡是讀書技巧速成班

  • and if you happen to be watching this at whatever point in the future that we all get neural implants to let us store our memories on servers in space,


  • what I’m about to tell you is woefully inaccurate.


  • Also, do we have flying cars yet?


  • For those of you who still rely on that mushy gray stuff in your cranium to remember things, though, listen up.


  • Today were digging into how your memory works and how you can make it work better.


  • At least, I think we are.


  • Nick, were not filming those makeup tutorials today, are we?

    Nick ,我們今天不是要上化妝家教班對吧?

  • [Theme Music]


  • The science of how memory works is complicated, to say the least.


  • After all, how do we explain how a bunch of nerve cells, chemicals, and electrical jolts


  • somehow let you remember algebra, where you left your car keys, and all the lines to The Dark Knight?


  • Well, it’s simple. We, uh…. rely on Hank from 3 years ago to do it for us.


  • Seriously, there are two whole episodes of Crash Course Psychology that go through the entire process of how memories are formed and retrieved.


  • But just like Xzibit left to his own devices in a car dealership, I can’t resist putting crash courses in your Crash Course.


  • Plus, understanding how your memory works will help you to optimize the way you study.


  • So let’s do a quick review.


  • Your brain turns information into memories by putting it through a few different stages.


  • The first is sensory memory, which processes pretty much everything your senses detect or experience in the real world.


  • That sensory memory has the attention span of a five-year-old at the DMV, though, so most of what it takes in is lost almost immediately.


  • But what does stick moves into your short-term or working memory.


  • This type of memory is sort of like the RAM in your computerthe memories don’t stick around permanently.

    這類的記憶有點類似電腦中的記憶體 - 這種記憶無法永遠留住

  • In fact, unless you continuously rehearse what’s floating around in working memory, itll pull a disappearing act after about 15-30 seconds.


  • This can also happen if you try to cram too much in at once, because your working memory can really only handle 4-7 bits or items of information at a time.


  • Now you can somewhat increase this limit by grouping bits into chunks


  • like splittingFBIKGBCIAinto FBI, KGB, CIA, but there’s still a limit.

    就像是把「 FBIKGBCIA 」切成 FBI 、 KGB 、 CIA ,但這還是有極限

  • Now, all this happens primarily in your brain’s prefrontal cortex,


  • but eventually the information has to make its way to other areas of the brain if it’s going to be encoded in long-term memory.


  • To greatly simplify things, itll first head to the hippocampus, which augments it with chemicals called neurotransmitters.


  • Along with many other functions, these transmit details about the informationmetadata, if you will.


  • Eventually, this leads to the formation of new synapses, which are essentially connections between neuronsthough the neurons don’t actually touch.

    最終,這些過程導致新突觸的形成,這些神經元間的突觸連結是非常重要的 – 即使其實他們沒有真的碰在一起

  • Instead, they prefer to keep a small gap between each other and let more of those neurotransmitters move information between them.


  • The whole process of memory formation causes physical changes within your brain:


  • neurotransmitters shuttle all over the place, neural pathways are forged,


  • and neurons themselves undergo structural improvements using proteins such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF.

    而神經元本身則藉由腦源性神經營養因子 (或稱為BDNF),改善其結構

  • And, just like the process of strengthening your muscles through exercise, this all takes time

    此外,就像是經由運動強化你肌肉的過程,這些都需要時間 –

  • which is why cramming for a test doesn’t work, and why you can’t instantly just download jujitsu into your brain like Neo.


  • As Pierce J. Howard noted in his book The Owner’s Manual for the Brain:

    就如 Pierce J. Howard 在他的書 The Owner’s Manual for the Brain 裡寫的:

  • Work involving higher mental functions, such as analysis and synthesis, needs to be spaced out to allow new neural connections to solidify.


  • New learning drives out old learning when insufficient time intervenes.”


  • Now that you have a bit of an understanding of how your memory works, one crucial tip should be clear:


  • you have to space your learning out over time.


  • But were not going to just leave it at that, becauseas cognitive scientists have known for a long timethe way you do that spacing matters quite a bit.

    但是並不是這樣而已,因為 – 就像認知科學長久以來的所了解的 – 間隔的方式非常多

  • To explain this, let’s start with why we forget things in the first place.


  • Part of the reason is that your brain doesn’t encode all memories equally.


  • During the long-term encoding process, the hippocampus will use different levels of neurotransmitters based on, among other things, how important the information is.

    在長期記憶編碼的過程中,海馬迴會依資訊的重要程度或一些其它原因,使用不同等級的神經傳導物質 48

  • And this plays a big role in how strongly it’s embedded in long-term memory.


  • This filtering mechanism is great for survival, as it allows your brain to safely disregard unimportant things,


  • like what you had for breakfast two weeks ago, while paying special attention to what’s important, like that fact that there are ninjas behind you right now.


  • Unfortunately, you can’t always consciously decide what’s important and what’s not,


  • which is why it can be hard to remember all the details from that history chapter you just read.


  • At a primal level, your brain just doesn’t think the details of Genghis Khan’s war with the Quarismian Shah in 1219 are as important as a bear attacking you.

    打從一開始,你的腦就覺得成吉思汗和花剌子模王國統治者在 1219 年的戰爭細節,沒有那隻現在正在攻擊你的熊重要

  • However, there are a few tricks you can pull to make it care a bit more.


  • First, understand that your brain latches more readily onto things that are tangible, visual, and uncommon than it does with the abstract or the mundane.


  • Because of this, it can be helpful to develop mnemonics, which are mental devices that help you associate pieces of information in ways that are easier to remember.


  • And mnemonics can take many forms.


  • You can create sayings to remember sequences of letterssuch asErnie Ate Dynamite, GoodBye Ernieto remember the names of the strings on a guitar.

    你可以自創一個格言來記憶一連串字母 – 像是「 Ernie 吃了黃色炸藥,再見了 Ernie。 」來記吉他弦的名稱

  • Or you can make up weird stories in your head that includes cues to the information youre trying to associate.


  • Like, the way I remember that Helsinki is the capital of Finland is by imagining a giant flaming sinkhole in the ground opening up with a bunch of sharks jumping out of it.


  • Since it’s weird, it’s easy to remember, and it helps me associate the words Hell, Fin, and Sink, which in turn connect Finland and Helsinki.


  • Additionally, the more connections that lead to a memory, the stronger itll beespecially if theyre learned in different contexts.

    此外,連到一個記憶的連結越多,這個記憶就越強烈 – 尤其如果這些連結習得自不同的環境背景會更有幫助

  • When I first learned about caravels, which were those small ships that Portuguese explorers used to travel down the African coast in the 15th century,


  • I had a hard time remembering that namecaravels.

    我覺得這個名字實在很難記 – caravels

  • But once I started using them in Civilization V to build my empire

    但是一旦我開始用它們在文明帝國 V 建立我的王國 –

  • and to make sure Ghandi never got far enough to nuke me, the memory became a lot more solid, since I was interacting with it in a new context.

    也確保甘地永遠沒辦法給我核平外送 (遊戲梗,甘地在此款遊戲裡很愛丟核彈),這份記憶變得超具體,因為我在一個全新的環境背景下與它互動

  • Of course, you still have to repeatedly access your new memories once theyre encoded if you want them to stick around.


  • This is pretty much the iron law of memorization:


  • Except in cases where theyre attached to a particularly intense emotional experience, memories fade away unless you repeatedly recall them.


  • Well, sort of. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble.

    似乎是時候來看看 Thought Bubble

  • In the 1880’s, a German psychologist named Herman Ebbinghaus wanted to understand how memories decayed over time,

    在 1880 年代,有一位德國心理學家叫做 赫爾曼·艾賓浩斯,他想要了解記憶是如何衰退的

  • and he especially wanted to know how long the process took.


  • He began by running countless tests on his own memory, forcing himself to recall long lists of meaningless letters until eventually, he came up with the Forgetting Curve.


  • While largely hypothetical and simplistic in its details, this model demonstrated how memories decay quickly unless accessed again and again.


  • Since Ebbinghaus’s days, our understanding of how memory decays has come a long way.


  • According to the Forget-to-Learn theory, which is presented in Benedict Carey’s book How We Learn, memories actually have two different strengths:

    按照 Benedict Carey 的著作「我們如何學習」內所述的遺忘學習理論,記憶含有兩種能力

  • storage strength and retrieval strength.


  • Picture your brain as a library where none of the books ever get stolen or damaged.


  • When a new book is put on a shelf, it’s there for good.


  • This represents storage strength, which, according to the theory, doesn’t weaken.


  • Once a memory is encoded, the neural pattern can only get stronger.


  • Now, unfortunately this library has a particularly lazy librarian who doesn’t do a very good job of keeping the library’s catalog organized.


  • This represents retrieval strength, which does fade with time.


  • Unless you go in and organize the catalogor recall the memoryyoull eventually lose track of it.

    除非你親自進去組織目錄 – 或著說回憶那些記憶 – 否則最終你會失去它們的蹤跡

  • Thanks, Thought Bubble. Now here’s where it gets good.

    Thought Bubble 謝啦! 接著談談其帶來的好處

  • The more a memory’s retrieval strength has faded, and the greater the difficulty of recalling it, the greater the increase in learning will be.


  • This is called the Spacing Effect.


  • It’s essentially theNo pain, no gain,” of the mental realm;


  • the harder you have to work to recall something, the greater the reward for doing so.


  • There’s an obvious catch, thoughif you wait too long, the retrieval strength diminishes so much that you won’t be able to recall the memory at all.


  • This where the Principle of Desirable Difficulty comes in.


  • To maximize the efficiency of your studying, you want to the find the point right before youre about to forget something.


  • And you can do this by using spaced repetition techniques.


  • The general idea behind spaced repetition is to steadily increase the amount of time in between each study session for any piece of information.


  • So instead of reviewing a fact or concept once every few days,


  • you’d use a schedule like this where you’d wait a day between the first and second sessions, three days between the second and third, and so on.


  • To do this precisely, you need a system that tracks your progress in memorizing each piece of information you need to studysince it never happens evenly.

    要精確的執行,你需要一個系統來追蹤你想學的各段資訊的記憶進度 – 因為你對各段記憶的進度總是均等

  • If youve got 100 Japanese kanji to learn, it’s inevitable that youll remember some easier than others.


  • If you use the exact same time delays for every kanji, youll spend too much time studying some, and others won’t ever be learned at all.


  • To solve this problem, you can use the Leitner System.

    為了解決這個問題,你可以使用 Leitner 生字卡系統

  • In it, youve got five boxes, each of which represents a specific study interval.


  • Box 1 gets studied every day, Box 2 every three days, Box 3 once a week, and so on.


  • Every fact or term gets its own flash card, and all cards start off in Box 1.


  • Once you get a card right, move it to the next box.


  • And if you get a card wrongno matter what box it’s insend it back to Box 1.


  • If you play by these rules, youll ensure that you maximize your efficiency by spending more time studying the cards you have the weakest grasp on.


  • The increasing time intervals of the boxes also help you leverage the spacing effect and get to close to that point of desirable difficulty.


  • There are also a ton of spaced repetition apps for both computers and smartphones that will let you make this whole process digital.


  • The best known one is probably Anki, which is free on most platforms, but there’s also TinyCards, Quizlet, and many, many others.

    最知名的大概是是 Anki ,大部分平台都可以免費使用,但也還有 TinyCards 、 Quizlet 等等許多其它的應用程式可供選擇

  • Now when it comes to subjects that aren’t easily studied through flash cardslike math or even a sport like skateboardingit’s harder to use a rigid spaced repetition algorithm.

    現在來談一些比較難用單字卡學習的科目 – 像是數學或甚至運動,例如滑板 – 這很難應用嚴格的間隔複習演算法

  • However, the spacing effect applies here as well, so be sure to space out your practice over time.


  • During any given day’s practice, youll eventually hit a wall where you stop making progress


  • whether it’s learning derivatives in calculus or kickflips in skateboarding


  • but if you come back to it a few days later, everything will be more likely to click into place.

    – 但當你在幾天之後再回來練習時,一切都變得更容易到位

  • In each of these study sessions, make sure youre putting the focus on recalling information from your own memory.


  • As we talked about in our video on reading assignments, there are two main kinds of memoryrecognition and recall.


  • Recognition is what happens when youre exposed to information youve already seen before and remember it.


  • But recall involves dredging the information up from the depths of your memory banks without seeing it,


  • which is exactly what youll have to do in both your exams and in many real-world situations.


  • So when you study, make sure youre focusing on active recall.


  • Don’t just passively read over your notes or slidesuse them to create quizzes for yourself,

    別只是被動地讀過你的筆記或講義 – 但可以用這些教材來幫自己做些小測驗

  • or challenge yourself to sit down and write out a summary of what youve learned from memory.


  • If youre studying a subject like math or physics, put a huge emphasis on practicing with real problems and actually use the concepts and formulas youve learned.


  • In short, studying should feel like work, and it should challenge your brain.


  • When it does, youll remember more while spending fewer hours at your desk.


  • Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.


  • This episode is brought to you by The Great Courses Plus, an on-demand subscription service

    這集影片是由 The Great Courses Plus 贊助撥出,The Great Courses Plus 是一個需求訂閱服務

  • where you can get unlimited access to over 7,000 different video lectures about any topic that interests you,


  • including science, literature, history, math, even cooking or photography.


  • The classes are taught by award winning professorsfrom the Ivy League and other top schools around the world.

    課程是由獲獎的教授 – 來自常春藤聯盟和其它全世界頂尖學校 – 所授課

  • If you're looking to improve your study skills further, you might like this lecture from

    如果你正在找方法進一步加強你的學習技巧,你也許會喜歡這門 Steve Joordens 教授的課

  • Professor Steve Joordens, called EncodingOur Gateway into Long-Term Memory where you'll learn more about how to improve your own recall.

    叫做「編碼 – 進入長期記憶的大門」,你可以學到更多關於如何增進回憶能力的知識

  • Right now, The Great Courses Plus is offering Crash Course viewers a free one-month trial.

    現在,The Great Courses Plus 提供速成班影片觀看者一個月免費試用

  • Go to, or click on the link in the video description below, to start your free trial today.

    前往 或是點擊下方影片敘述連結,今天就開始免費試用吧

  • Crash Course Study Skills is filmed in the Dr. Cheryl C. Kinney Crash Course Studio in Missoula, MT, and it's made with the help of all of these nice people.

    學習技巧速成班是由 Cheryl C 博士和蒙大拿州的 Kinney 速成班工作室以及這幾位大好人的協助所拍攝而成

  • If you'd like to keep Crash Course free for everyone, forever, you can support the series over on Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows you to support the content that you love.

    如果你願意幫助速成班系列影片永久免費提供大家學習,你可以到 Patreon 平台上贊助,它是是一個募資平台,讓你可以支持你喜歡的內容

  • Thank you so much for your support.


This episode is supported by The Great Courses Plus.

這集影片由 The Great Courses Plus 贊助播出


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