kitchen table math, the sequel: Competing Memory Issue

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Competing Memory Issue

Six months into this SAT project, and I've repeatedly experienced that learning something new only sticks, until I learn something else new. Very frustrating.

Reminds me of my daughter who tells me that it's very hard for her to get good grades in every subject at the same time. (I get it now, deeply.)

There's a new study from Beth Israel researchers about this competing memory issue:

For the last 100 years, it has been appreciated that trying to learn facts and skills in quick succession can be a frustrating exercise,” explains Edwin Robertson, MD, DPhil, an Associate Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and BIDMC. “Because no sooner has a new memory been acquired than its retention is jeopardized by learning another fact or skill.

....and a possible new solution:

TMS is a noninvasive technique that uses a magnetic simulator to generate a magnetic field that can create a flow of current in the brain......They discovered that by applying TMS to specific brain areas, they were able to reduce the interference and competition between the motor skill and word-list tasks and both memories remained intact.

On a related note, I have started working with a Cognitive Psychologist on my working memory. Yesterday's appointment: IQ test.

(Cross Posted on Perfect Score Project)


Anonymous said...


Is it Cogmed? If so, let us know how it goes!

debbie stier said...

IT IS!!!!! (I'm so excited.)

Crimson Wife said...

Does CogMed work for auditory memory as well?

We're in the middle of trying to figure out what is going on with my almost-9-y.o. She seems to really struggle with recalling sequences she's heard in the proper order (lots of transposing of digits in numbers & syllables in multi-syllabic words). It's been really frustrating teasing apart whether it's an auditory processing issue, an attention issue, a memory issue, or some combination.

The AudD. did some CAPD testing and wants to do more but not until after the Neuropsych has done a full ADD evaluation. We're in the process of trying to find a Neuropsych who takes our insurance, doesn't have a horrendously long waiting list, and hopefully is familiar with gifted kids.

Liz Ditz said...

Hmmmn Crimson Wife also look at the possibility of mild to moderate dyslexia -- what the Drs. Eide call "stealth dyslexia" in gifted children.

Two resources:

That kind of transposition of syllables one of the hallmarks of dyslexia.

Crimson Wife said...

She's definitely not dyslexic as reading is her strong suit. She doesn't transpose syllables if she reads the word, only if she hears it orally without any visual cues.

The weird thing is that she's an auditory learner. If I read a passage aloud to her, she's very good at narrating back the information in it. It's just the sequencing part that she struggles with. She gets the "big picture" meaning of what she hears but flubs the specific order of the details.

I'll give her a dictation exercise and even after multiple repetitions of the original sentence, she'll write a paraphrase.

I'll do one of the "mental math" exercises in Singapore and the answer makes it very clear that she can do the arithmetic but has transposed digits in the original problem. (e.g. "4231 - 498 = 1933") When I write the original number on the whiteboard and ask her to solve the same problem, she can easily get the correct answer of 3733.

The CAPD testing found that she fell below the normal range on certain tasks but the AudD. says that ADD could be interfering & causing a "false positive".

debbie stier said...

I don't know if it works for auditory learners.....but I will ask. I suspect that lean towards being an auditory learner. When I can't "get" something in a book, I often ask someone to explain it out loud to me, and then I understand.

My daughter has also been diagnosed with Auditory Processing disorder (right around when she was your daughter's age and she is 13 now). She has also been diagnosed with ADD and dyslexia.

I take it all with a grain of salt. I have no idea what has worked or not worked over the years. So hard to tease it all apart.