Exceptional memory

Posits that (1) normal adults with modest amounts of practice can achieve memory performance that equals the recorded performance of people with exceptional memories, (2) the cognitive structures and processes acquired through practice can account for exceptional and expert memory, and (3) all normal adults exhibit skilled and exceptional memory in a domain where they are experts. One undergraduate was administered a digit span task for 1 hr/day, 3–5 times/week, for 20 mo. His digit span steadily improved from 7 to approximately 80 digits. Several other Ss were assessed to determine how information was stored in order to compare them to individuals with exceptional memory. Ss recalled digits in many different matrix patterns. Normal Ss took longer than the trained S and the exceptional Ss to study the matrices. There were no significant time differences between the Ss in ability to retrieve the memorized digits in different orders. Ss retrieved the entire matrix row by row as fast as they retrieved single columns. The trained S reported memorizing the digits using mnemonic associations. It is concluded that there are common components that are characteristic of exceptional memory: prior experience and practice, availability of meaningful associations, and storage and efficient retrieval of information from long-term memory.


Four experiments are reported which examined memory capacity and retrieval speed for pictures and for words. Single-trial learning tasks were employed throughout, with memory performance assessed by forced-choice recognition, recall measures or choice reaction-time tasks. The main experimental findings were: (I) memory capacity, as a function of the amount of material presented, follows a general power law with a characteristic exponent for each task; (2) pictorial material obeys this power law and shows an overall superiority to verbal material. The capacity of recognition memory for pictures is almost limitless, when measured under appropriate conditions; (3) when the recognition task is made harder by using more alternatives, memory capacity stays constant and the superiority of pictures is maintained; (4) picture memory also exceeds verbal memory in terms of verbal recall; comparable recognition/recall ratios are obtained for pictures, words and nonsense syllables; (5) verbal memory shows a higher retrieval speed than picture memory, as inferred from reaction-time measures. Both types of material obey a power law, when reaction-time is measured for various sizes of learning set, and both show very rapid rates of memory search.

From a consideration of the experimental results and other data it is concluded that the superiority of the pictorial mode in recognition and free recall learning tasks is well established and cannot be attributed to methodological artifact.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex

In his classic guide to understanding the opposite sex, Dr. John Gray, provides a practical and proven way for men and women to improve their communication and relationships by acknowledging the differences between them.

Once upon a time Martians and Venusians met, fell in love, and had happy relationships together because they respected and accepted their differences. Then they came to Earth and amnesia set in: they forgot they were from different planets.

Based on years of successful counseling of couples and individuals, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus has helped millions of couples transform their relationships. Now viewed as a modern classic, this timeless book has helped men and women realize how different they can be in their communication styles, their emotional needs, and their modes of behavior, and offers the secrets of communicating without conflicts, allowing couples to give intimacy every chance to grow.

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

We get feedback every day of our lives, from friends and family, colleagues, customers, and bosses, teachers, doctors, and strangers.  We’re assessed, coached, and criticized about our performance, personalities, and appearance.

We know that feedback is essential for professional development and healthy relationships—but we dread it and often dismiss it.  That’s because receiving feedback sits at the junction of two conflicting human desires. We want to learn and grow, but we also want to be accepted and respected just as we are now.  Thanks for the Feedback is the first book to address this tension head on.  It explains why getting feedback is so crucial yet so challenging and offers a simple framework and powerful tools to help us take on life’s blizzard of offhand comments, annual evaluations, and unsolicited advice with curiosity and grace.

The business world spends billions of dollars and millions of hours each year teaching people how to give feedback more effectively.  Stone and Heen argue that we’ve got it backwards and show us why the smart money is on educating receivers – in the workplace as well as in personal relationships. It’s the receivers, after all, who interpret what they’re hearing and decide whether and how to change.

Coauthors of the international bestseller Difficult Conversations, Stone and Heen have discovered that while receiving feedback can be fraught, doing it well can be taught.  With humor and clarity, the book blends the latest insights from neuroscience and psychology with practical, hard-headed advice. It is destined to become a classic in the world of leadership, organizational behavior, and education.

Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics

Selections from Science and Sanity represents Alfred Korzybski’s authorized abridgement of his magnum opus, Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics. This second edition, published in response to the recent Korzybski revival, adds new introductory material and a revised index, providing an accessible introduction to Korzybski’s arguments concerning the need for a non-Aristotelian approach to knowledge, thought, perception, and language, to coincide with our non-Newtonian physics and non-Euclidean geometries, to Korzybski’s practical philosophy, applied psychology, pragmatics of human communication, and educational program. Selections from Science and Sanity serves as an excellent introduction to general semantics as a system intended to aid the individual’s adjustment to reality, enhance intellectual and creative activities, and alleviate the many social ills that have plagued humanity throughout our history.

Language in Thought and Action

Renowned professor and former U.S. Senator S. I. Hayakawa discusses the role of language in human life, the many functions of language, and how language – sometimes without our knowing – shapes our thinking in this engaging and highly respected book. Provocative and erudite, it examines the relationship between language and racial and religious prejudice; the nature and dangers of advertising from a linguistic point of view; and, in an additional chapter called The Empty Eye, the content, form, and hidden message of television, from situation comedies to news coverage to political advertising.

Beyond Freedom and Dignity

In this profound and profoundly controversial work, a landmark of 20th-century thought originally published in 1971, B. F. Skinner makes his definitive statement about humankind and society.

Insisting that the problems of the world today can be solved only by dealing much more effectively with human behavior, Skinner argues that our traditional concepts of freedom and dignity must be sharply revised. They have played an important historical role in our struggle against many kinds of tyranny, he acknowledges, but they are now responsible for the futile defense of a presumed free and autonomous individual; they are perpetuating our use of punishment and blocking the development of more effective cultural practices. Basing his arguments on the massive results of the experimental analysis of behavior he pioneered, Skinner rejects traditional explanations of behavior in terms of states of mind, feelings, and other mental attributes in favor of explanations to be sought in the interaction between genetic endowment and personal history. He argues that instead of promoting freedom and dignity as personal attributes, we should direct our attention to the physical and social environments in which people live. It is the environment rather than humankind itself that must be changed if the traditional goals of the struggle for freedom and dignity are to be reached.

Beyond Freedom and Dignity urges us to reexamine the ideals we have taken for granted and to consider the possibility of a radically behaviorist approach to human problems–one that has appeared to some incompatible with those ideals, but which envisions the building of a world in which humankind can attain its greatest possible achievements.