Author Topic: Why can I not remember a phone number for 10 seconds...  (Read 1836 times)

Gone Fishing

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Why can I not remember a phone number for 10 seconds...
« on: October 10, 2014, 02:29:11 PM »
...but I can remember about what I paid for something 20 years ago? 

otherbarry

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Re: Why can I not remember a phone number for 10 seconds...
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2014, 11:51:49 AM »
It has to do with your short term memory of course. A study done on how many number digits humans can remember had these results:

Quote
Ericsson, Chase and Faloon (1980) decided to see how far this "recoding" idea could be pushed. They had an undergraduate student memorize random strings of decimal digits an hour a day, 3 to 5 days a week, for more than a year and a half. (Presumably they paid him well for this effort!) At the end of this period his memory span had increased from 7 to 79 digits. In other words, he could repeat back a string of 79 random digits immediately after hearing it without any error. His long-term memory for the digits also improved. By the end of the experiment, he often remembered many sequences from previous days.

He did this by relating the numbers to mile times since he was an avid runner. If you want to remember phone numbers you need to come up with a memory system to relate those numbers to something your brain can access more easily. Here is the link if you want more information.

gt7152b

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Re: Why can I not remember a phone number for 10 seconds...
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2014, 08:09:19 AM »
I remember phone numbers and other number sequences by using the pattern it makes on a dial pad. If you don't give some kind of meaning to the numbers they get jumbled up quickly in your brain.

Rezdent

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Re: Why can I not remember a phone number for 10 seconds...
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2014, 09:44:34 AM »
Remembering random digits appears to use up bandwidth that could be used to optimize choices.  The results of this study indicate that memorizing numbers could contribute to poor food choices and abandonment of goals.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&ei=uJg6VLnKOISHyASvxYDwBQ&url=http://www.d.umn.edu/~dglisczi/4501web/4501Readings/Shiv(1999)FruitOrCake.pdf&ved=0CCMQFjAC&usg=AFQjCNFEpA_Cpi0SQSvEo6jyVUNtDwsJJg

The longer the number the subject was asked to remember,  the more likely they were to choose cake over fruit from a tray.  So 7 digit numbers could possibly make you fat!
So my guess would be this also works in reverse - that you are busy optimizing and it decreases ability to memorize random numbers.
I no longer even try to memorize them but I will write them down.