Do You Sway?
Did you know that many ancient religions (see: Apostles Paul and Peter) required a swaying motion while learning their Bible? Who-Cares? We have tested over one thousand students with a form of swaying while acquiring new text information and offer evidence of its usefulness.
None got seasick and 92% reported significant cognitive improvement in long-term memory and test score improvement.
Did you know that the basis of using a pacer (RasterMaster, pen and cursor) to 3x reading speed and 2x memory is based on the Bronze Pointer used in reading Biblical text by lay people at Temple?
Who says? Evelyn Wood – the originator of speed reading. She adapted it for school studies and memory training.
Two-minutes of swaying our body transforms our brainwave rhythms from Beta cycles per second (13-40 Hz) of conscious alertness, to Alpha c. p. s (8-12 Hz) of alert relaxation.
Alpha initiates itself within 30 seconds of voluntarily closing our eyes. New research indicates our Pineal gland is involved in Alpha because of its control over our circadian rhythms, and the production of neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. Both neurotransmitters are involved in learning and memory, and the emotional states of mood, behavior and depression.
One-minute of Alpha brainwave rhythms produces a trance-like affect; defined as an Altered State of Consciousness. Here is how we remember it: Alpha produces a trance – a relaxed learning state permitting access to coding and decoding information for long-term retrieval. It consistently improves your knowledge base.
If you close your eyes while standing vertically you will notice a postural-way of your body. Gravity and our ability to stand upright produce slight movements of our body left-to-right and forward and backward. It helps us maintain our position of uprightness. It is how we are constructed structurally and functionally.
Our eyes are never stable; they produce a visual-sway by emitting tremors, drifts, and mini movements called Micro-Saccades. These eye movements maintain vision together with our eye-pattern-movements and our field-of-vision. It is the basis of reading and seeing.
You know the expression, a nod of agreement and she nodded her head in approval. It is a downward movement of the head and a quick upward motion. Could nodding be an element of our prehistoric system of communication?
Our ancient ancestors survived (made their living) by hunting and gathering; they used tribal cooperation to bring home the bacon. They used facial expressions, hand gestures, together with vocal sounds (before language) to trap their prey for the next meal. Side-to-side head movement indicated a need for a change of strategy, while nodding moved the hunters forward to their kill.
Nodding is a conscious product of our brain using attention, intention and concentration. It combines our prefrontal cortex for planning and analysis, and our motor cortex for movements through our basal ganglia and brain stem. It is a mind- body association.
Point 1: attention occurs by ignoring distractions and focusing our undivided awareness on our target.
Point 2: intention is a conscious and non-conscious decision to act to achieve a goal.
Point 3: concentration (with-a-center) is the indispensable use of mind and body to achieve our desire. Mind complements body and vice-versa.
Reading, Learning and Memory
We use our eyes and brain to read by forwarding electro-chemical images through our optic nerve for coding and decoding of the symbols. Long term memory involves our hippocampus (Limbic System) to store information using the dendritic-spines of our hundred billion neurons and their connections. Google dendrites and hippocampus.
When you desire to reinforce learning up to 52% and long-term memory about 42% nod your head (one inch) three times at the gist of the text. You are triggering your pre-motor cortices to link your behavior of nodding with the activity of learning and memory.
Nodding while speed reading improves retention of the gist of the text (details) up to ninety days. Reviewing the text later will create a permanent link to long-term (years) memory. Reading a single page of text for later testing requires a maximum selection of four separate ideas to capture by nodding. The time involved adds about two seconds.
You add your physical (body language), to your left-brain cognitive (mental) skills (gathering data and thinking) by nodding in agreement while learning text.
Some students would silently whisper the phrase Ah Ha or Eureka when choosing the text for nodding. The secret is the use of our three major senses – visual-auditory-kinesthetic (touch/movement). Using all three instead of only one sense – usually seeing – multiplies your ability to capture knowledge by three.
Some students suggested writing out the key ideas of their text (or dictating into a recorder), reading aloud their written script, while rhythmically swaying their body to a silent drummer produces exceptional recall. We agree because the learning impression is deepened by the use of additional senses.
Have you heard of the Eye-Brain-Link? It is located between your eyebrows and in the center of your brain. It is called the Pineal Gland and is activated in learning and memory.
When you mentally visualize information (2-3 words) in this slot between your eyebrows it produces maximum retention. If you place a picture instead of words in the Eye-Brain-Link your long-term memory is powered by a factor of three.
Another reason to exercise your cognitive skills for learning and memory is to build a firewall of protection around your brain. Many scientists (Google Dr. David Snowden) believe the active behavior of learning thwarts Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.
Let us end with the words of a 93 year-old Nun involved in a 15 year study of the brain: If you Hope, you Cope. If you Don’t, you Mope.
Another said: If you have time to whine, you have the time to learn how to win the prize.
Edward Lorenz (MIT) offers the Butterfly Effect: Small changes lead to massive reactions. Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?
By the way – to cope is more than attempting or managing. It is wrestling with a problem while aiming to win using your persistence and determination. Coping has the element of success in its Webster definition. We expect you to win.
Tell me, would you be better off having the competitive advantage of reading-and- remembering three books, articles and reports in the time your peers can hardly finish one?
See ya, copyright © 2007 H. Bernard Wechsler www.speedlearning.org firstname.lastname@example.org -
Author of Speed Reading for Professionals published by Barron's; partner of Evelyn Wood, creator of speed reading, graduating 2 million, including the White House staffs of four U. S. Presidents.
Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine for major articles.