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August 9, 2011

State-dependent learning

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From John Eligon's April 23, 2011 New York Times article: "Studies of a theory called state-dependent learning have suggested that some people who witnessed an event while they were drunk were better able to recall the details later when they were brought back to the same level of drunkenness, said Seema L. Clifasefi, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Addictive Behaviors Research Center."

"'In essence, the state of being intoxicated may serve as an internal memory cue and allow access to information that may not be readily available under a sober state,' she wrote in an e-mail."

From Wikipedia:

"Godden and Overton clearly established that information gained in a drugged state may only be recalled when and if the individual's original internal 'drugged' chemical environment had been been reinstated."

What an interesting can of legal worms to be opened by an intrepid attorney.

More from Wikipedia: "When investigating ways of training deep-sea divers to perform certain crucial underwater tasks, Godden and Baddeley clearly established that things learned underwater were best remembered in an underwater environment (and, as well, also established that things learned 'on land' were best remembered 'on land')."

"They also clearly demonstrated that it was counter-productive to train people 'on land' in activities and procedures that they would later exclusively perform underwater."

Immediate application: try to study in the same classroom in which an exam will take place rather than in the library or at home.

And: "Our commonsense experience verifies the notion of 'state-dependent remembering': if, for example, we arrive in the lounge room only to discover that we have forgotten whatever it was that we have come from the kitchen to find, we instinctively know that we'll recall whatever it was far better if we return to the kitchen and stand in the spot in the kitchen where we had our original thought."

August 9, 2011 at 04:31 PM | Permalink


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