Tuesday, July 17, 2007

memory

If like me you are on the wrong side of 30 and happen to think you have a reasonably good memory, try playing the game Memory against a 10-year-old. It will cure you of any illusions ...
I've played some two dozen rounds against my daughter and I think the best result was a draw, which I achieved once or twice. Put it this way, if I concentrate and she doesn't, I may achieve a draw with luck on my side and the wind from behind. If any of these factors is missing, I haven't got a chance in hell.

Our set is a good old-fashioned one dating from my childhood, with lots of nature photographs. Part of the problem is that there are 10 different kinds of trees which I don't know by name, so remembering that there was a tree in the corner over there is no use whatsoever.

The game is interesting for what it reveals about the workings of memory, too. I find for my own crumbling memory that it's better to trust the subconscious than the conscious part. If I start thinking "where did I see this card before?" I have less of a chance than if I just reach out without thinking.

Now if someone could take a Tardis and fetch my own 10-year-old self to play against my daughter, that might be interesting ...

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