Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Human Computer

Welcome to the new year! Did anyone learn anything over the holiday season? I know I did. I learned that too much information can be a bad thing. Your brain might freeze trying to take in all of the ads you’ve seen on TV, all of the holiday specials you watch, or just from the amount of people wishing you a happy holidays. You’ll usually find, at the end of the holidays, your brain actually took hold of this task quite well, and stored it all in one location, where you might not access it ever again.

There’s one thing that has always fascinated me about the human brain. It can quickly, and easily take in information using strange signals that wouldn’t even be related if we hadn’t connected these two very different dots. What I’m referring to, is our intellect versus our language.

Look out a window right now, and look at something. Don’t think of anything else, just look at that one thing. What was the first thing your mind threw at you? For most people, it would be the name of that object. If you looked at a tree, deep down in the back of your mind, you could hear a quiet voice whispering tree. Same thing if you looked at a road, it would whisper road. Some people may not even realize that they are telling themselves what those things are, rather than knowing them immediately. To take another step into this mess, let’s think about what we hear everyday, basic human speech.

It doesn’t matter what language you speak, every word you say is nothing but a mesh of sounds that someone has told you means something. In reality, we are trying to voice an idea, our brain interprets that idea into those words, then the person you are talking to interprets those words back into the basic idea as best as they can, and the brain reads the new message. This happens practically instantly.

You want to try something fun? The next time you are hearing someone speak, not necessarily to you, just sit there and listen to them. Don’t try to hear what they are saying, just listen to the sounds they make. If you can turn off your language skill and just listen to the sounds, even your native language can sound alien to you.

This is a great skill to learn. This way, you can zone out to make sure you don’t receive very much information, that would likely push out the more relevant knowledge, yet still be active enough to catch when you are supposed to respond, and what you are responding to. Just don’t use it on your spouse, parents, or anyone trying to teach you something. They seem to become enraged by it. I’m not sure why.

1 comment:

Ginny said...

This one really gave me something to think about. I tryed the looking out at a lot of different things and you are right. I put a name to everything I looked at right away. And then I added things to it. I haven't tried the listening to conversations yet because I'm alone right now. I liked the way you presented this one. Ginny