To give a bit of background, I have 4 kids. Yesterday, for some ‘fun’ I decided to see if two of them could remember cards. I haven’t taught them any memory techniques so it was them using their own methods.
What makes it slightly more interesting is their backgrounds.
My son aged 11 had a brain tumor a few years ago which has likely had an effect on his brain although the extent is hard to know. He finds a lot of things both physically and mentally very difficult. Especially recall.
My daughter is aged 8 and is highly intelligent and especially gifted.
They are both fully bilingual although not sure if that would make a difference.
I gave them increasing number of cards and told them to see if they could memorise them in order. eg. gave them 6 cards each. They learnt them and came back to me when ready and I tested them. They were allowed as long as they wanted and as many attempts as they needed.
Then I would give them a different 7 cards.
At around 8 cards, I got them to first tell me them forwards and then backwards. If they made a mistake then they had to start again (tough love!).
They both got up to 10 cards forwards and backwards.
I found this very interesting for the following reasons:
The expected short term memory is of around 7 items (between 5 and 9). With cards, you are not only remembering the number, but also the suit. I would expect this to be far harder than just a number.
I suspect that the cards must have entered the next stage of memory. My daughter was singing the cards to a made up tune. My son didn’t seem to be employing any tactic such as this that I could tell.
I wonder whether by my son’s brain having gone through trauma (tumor, radiation, chemotherapy etc.) has adjusted itself to put things straight into medium term memory. Perhaps this compensates in some way for other damage.
Once they could do them forward, they had no difficulty doing them backwards also.
I didn’t press them, but neither of them could explain to me how they did it. However, I wouldn’t be able to do it without using some ‘taught’ memory techniques.
Would be pretty cool if I could actually work them up to 52 cards without using any known memory techniques and THEN teach them the methods.
Am very interested in your thoughts on the above.