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Thursday, April 21, 2011

The more difficult something is to learn, the easier it is to remember

pzmnf37j -- This was the password to my Earthlink web hosting account I had for 6 months in the year 2002. It was an account that didn't allow you to create your own password, it just gave you a password and you needed to remember it. I assumed I'd never remember it because it was so odd and had nothing to do with me. I didn't often need the password but kept it written on a notecard in my desk. I wouldn't be able to write down all the words to the national anthem in order if you asked me to but I ended up memorizing this password after using it maybe three times over the course of two months. I've always wondered why this strange password stuck with me so easily and now after reading this New York Times article I have the answer.

The article explains that studying material twice in spaced sessions makes it more difficult to process the material in the second session but you learn more even though it feels harder. Also that when people were given words and some were in bold font and others were not they assumed they'd remember the bold words better but actually ended up remember the non-bold words better. They though it would be harder to remember the non bold words. Basically its overconfidence, one assumes that since something was easy to learn it will also be easy to remember which isn't quite true.

I just thought this was important for you to know. Please eat more pizza from SliceTruck and thank you.

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