Cognition, Learning, and Self-Tracking - Quantified Self 2011

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Quantified Self 2011, May 29
Nick Winter

How can we learn faster while remembering more? How can we keep track of what we’ve learned? How can we evaluate the effectiveness of different learning strategies? What can we do to increase our mental performance? Let’s get smart about learning.

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  • I've heard of some people proposing to build something for this, but I'm not sure any of them actually did–I'm totally unsure as to the market! Sorry I don't have more info.
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  • Thanks a bunch @nickwinter this is awesome. have you ever heard of any businesses selling spaced-repetition techniques to other businesses ? What's the market ?
    Thanks a lot for your help and time ! Cheers
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  • This has gotten a bunch of views! If y'all are interested in measuring your cognitive performance, check out the tool that Yoni Donner created (and I helped with) after putting together these slides: http://www.quantified-mind.com/
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  • Thanks Nick, I'm reading the article. I particularly like this: 'One of [Wozniak]'s most heartfelt wishes is that the world have one language' :)
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  • I forgot to mention this, but that graphic is from Wired, from Gary Wolf's excellent article on spaced repetition: http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/16-05/ff_wozniak
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  • We want to measure these things so we can improve them, by doing personal experiments. I’ll spend ten minutes giving some background, and then let’s learn from each other.
  • HermannEbbinghaus, memorized nonsense syllables for years in the 1880s, figured out how memory worked. Experiments too boring for any other human, so had to self-experiment. Figured out forgetting curves, learning curves, the spacing effect, recency and primacy effects, and savings. Thanks,Ebbinghaus! But how do we use it?
  • Computers can help us track everything we’re learning and figure out when we should review each item. This is Awesome.
  • Automatically tracks stats for you!Real, personalized resultsBest learning methods (mnemonics vs. example sentences vs. fast as possible), environments (walking, standing, sitting), times of day, whatever--for you
  • How much would you pay to increase your intelligence by 10 IQ points?How much would you pay for twice as much focused concentration each day?
  • Looked at a few places where people proposed testing this. Hey, everyone wants to play games! Good idea, but…
  • Looked at a few places where people proposed testing this. Hey, everyone wants to play games! Good idea, but…
  • Looked at a few places where people proposed testing this. Hey, everyone wants to play games! Good idea, but…
  • Looked at a few places where people proposed testing this. Hey, everyone wants to play games! Good idea, but…
  • Looked at a few places where people proposed testing this. Hey, everyone wants to play games! Good idea, but…
  • I mean, seriously—my self-reported energy levels had no relationship to how well I remembered or how fast I was at remembering? This probably means that I can’t trust a single thing I subjectively feel about how well my brain is working. Like the guy who’s so drunk he doesn’t know he’s drunk, or the sleepless person who feels alert but is as good as drunk.
  • Cognition, Learning, and Self-Tracking - Quantified Self 2011

    1. 1. Cognition and Learning<br />May 29, Quantified Self 2011<br />Nick Winter<br />nick@skritter.com<br />
    2. 2. Two Topics Today<br />Measuring Learning<br />+<br />Measuring Cognition<br />
    3. 3. Measuring Learning<br />(measuring our learning speed and how much we remember)<br />Tracking it<br />Improving it<br />
    4. 4. Ebbinghaus and Memory<br />
    5. 5. Spaced Repetition<br />
    6. 6. Spaced Repetition Systems (SRS)<br />Anki, SuperMemo<br />Skritter (my baby)<br />
    7. 7. What Can You SRS?<br />Obvious<br />Vocabulary/Languages<br />Science<br />School stuff<br />Phone numbers<br />Names and faces<br />Any facts, really<br />Not obvious<br />Self-help/habits<br />Music<br />How to deal with police<br />What organic/free range/grass-fed/certified humane actually mean<br />Anything chunkable<br />
    8. 8. What I’m SRSing<br />Chinese<br />Spanish<br />Morse Code<br />Braille<br />Chess<br />Rationality techniques<br />Biases and fallacies<br />Social skills<br />People I meet<br />Anatomy<br />Account numbers<br />Poetry<br />Cooking<br />Massage<br />Investing<br />Lots of nonfiction books<br />
    9. 9. Super Simple Self Experiments<br />
    10. 10. Super Simple Self Experiments<br />
    11. 11. Measuring Cognition<br />(measuring the performance of our brains)<br />Why?<br />How?<br />
    12. 12. Brain Performance is Important<br /> +10 IQ = $XXXXX?<br />2x focus = $XXXXX?<br />
    13. 13. You Can Pump Up Your Brain (probably)<br />You could try…<br />Walking, standing, butter, fermented foods, warm showers, smart drugs, meditation, breathing exercises, biofeedback, fish oil, flaxseed oil, MCT oil, yoga, alcohol, yams, coffee, mint tea, creatine, winter swimming, dual n-back, and sleeping a lot!<br />
    14. 14. You Can Pump Up Your Brain (probably)<br />And you might not want to eat…<br />Raw carrots, raw bell peppers, peanut butter, walnuts, pure sugar, bananas, raw apples, grains, tofu, onions, mushrooms, lactose, chocolate, nuts, coffee, cheese, or processed foods!<br />
    15. 15. You Can Pump Up Your Brain (probably)<br />Tons of ways<br />Most won’t work for you<br />How to find the right few?<br />Just try them and measure the results!<br />
    16. 16. Cool Experiments that Worked<br />Seth Roberts:<br />Butter + Flaxseed Oil + Warm Showers = Faster Arithmetic<br />Dave Asprey:<br />Not Eating Wheat = Way Better at Freecell<br />Piotr Wozniak<br /> Free-Running Sleep = Better Memory During SRS<br />
    17. 17. How to Measure Brain Performance?<br />Some possible tests:<br />Psychomotor Vigilance Test, sightreading music, <br />Continuous Performance Tasks, typing speed tests,<br />Test of Variables of Attention, Sudoku, crosswords, <br />arithmetic, solitaire, blitz go, blitz chess, brain training <br />games, dual n-back, Quake 3, Grid Wars, Tetris, <br />Minesweeper, or just plain thinking about how sharp you <br />are at the moment<br />
    18. 18. How to Measure Brain Performance?<br />Some possible tests that don’t have a big learning effect:<br />Psychomotor Vigilance Test, sightreading music, <br />Continuous Performance Tasks, typing speed tests,<br />Test of Variables of Attention, Sudoku, crosswords, <br />arithmetic, solitaire, blitz go, blitz chess, brain training <br />games, dual n-back, Quake 3, Grid Wars, Tetris, <br />Minesweeper,or just plain thinking about how sharp you <br />are at the moment<br />
    19. 19. How to Measure Brain Performance?<br />Some possible tests that don’t have a big learning effect<br /> and are reliable:<br />Psychomotor Vigilance Test, sightreading music, <br />Continuous Performance Tasks, typing speed tests,<br />Test of Variables of Attention, Sudoku, crosswords, <br />arithmetic, solitaire, blitz go, blitz chess, brain training <br />games, dual n-back, Quake 3, Grid Wars, Tetris, <br />Minesweeper,or just plain thinking about how sharp you <br />are at the moment<br />
    20. 20. How to Measure Brain Performance?<br />Some possible tests that don’t have a big learning effect,<br /> are reliable, and aren’t designed to bore you:<br />Psychomotor Vigilance Test,sightreading music, <br />Continuous Performance Tasks,typing speed tests,<br />Test of Variables of Attention,Sudoku, crosswords, <br />arithmetic, solitaire, blitz go, blitz chess, brain training <br />games, dual n-back, Quake 3, Grid Wars, Tetris, <br />Minesweeper,or just plain thinking about how sharp you <br />are at the moment<br />
    21. 21. How to Measure Brain Performance?<br />Some possible tests that don’t have a big learning effect,<br /> are reliable, and aren’t designed to bore you:<br />Psychomotor Vigilance Test,sightreading music, <br />Continuous Performance Tasks,typing speed tests,<br />Test of Variables of Attention,Sudoku, crosswords, <br />arithmetic, solitaire, blitz go, blitz chess, brain training <br />games, dual n-back, Quake 3, Grid Wars, Tetris, <br />Minesweeper,or just plain thinking about how sharp you <br />are at the moment<br />Really? Is that the best we can do?<br />
    22. 22. Aha! SRS performance == brain performance!<br />Already doing SRS every day<br />100,000 reviews this year<br /> 18,000 have energy data<br />Correlations<br />Retention rate vs. energy:<br />Thinking time vs. energy:<br />Total review time vs. energy: <br />
    23. 23. Aha! SRS performance == brain performance!<br />Already doing SRS every day<br />100,000 reviews this year<br /> 18,000 have energy data<br />Correlations<br />Retention rate vs. energy: 0.02<br />Thinking time vs. energy: 0.03<br />Total review time vs. energy: 0.02<br />
    24. 24. This is a lot harder to measure than I thought<br />
    25. 25. How to Measure Brain Performance?<br />Seth Roberts’ arithmetic test<br />…?<br />
    26. 26. What about passive measuring?<br />Devices that monitor your brain waves?<br />Physical indicators correlated to mental function?<br />Other biofeedback devices?<br />This would be really awesome<br />
    27. 27. Okay, Let’s Talk<br />Spaced repetition for the win?<br />How would you measure brain performance?<br />What are your experiences tracking learning and cognition?<br />http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/magazine/16-05/ff_wozniak<br />http://blog.sethroberts.net/2010/03/27/why-i-use-arithmetic-to-measure-brain-function/<br />http://blog.sethroberts.net/2011/01/29/the-buttermind-experiment/<br />http://blog.sethroberts.net/2010/11/19/effect-of-flaxseed-oil-on-arithmetic/<br />http://lesswrong.com/lw/1gl/how_to_test_your_mental_performance_at_the_moment/<br />http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2562632<br />

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