|Memory, Consciousness, Language
Abstract and summary
|Dr E. J. Gorzelanczyk,
|This book provides a synthesis of Dr Gorzelanczyk's work in the area of memory, consciousness and language. It covers all levels of neural function from molecular to behavioral. It looks at the human mind from the evolutionary and computational perspective. It also provides a compact presentation of the author's findings related to spaced repetition as well as modeling long-term memory. The book was part of material submitted in application for the title of Doctor Habilitus obtained the same year. The book is currently available only in Polish (to receive a copy, please write directly to Medsystem Publishing - Oficyna Wydawnicza Medsystem)|
Language, memory and consciousness have a material background and researchers from different disciplines have tried to understand these phenomena, which are of interest to both social and natural sciences. The research agendas of scientists from different fields differ from each other significantly even when the subject of research is shared. It is the author's opinion that efforts should be undertaken to bring such fields as molecular biology, physiology, neurology, evolutionary theory, psychology, psycholinguistics and linguistics closer together. It is necessary to break the artificially created boundaries between these disciplines. It is the author's conviction, that evolutionary and biological approaches make it possible to more fully understand the subject matter studied by linguists. On the other hand, the results obtained by language researchers should be utilized by natural scientists in planning their research. In this paper, the current state of knowledge concerning the molecular basis of memory is presented, for it is there that the explanation of the phenomena which concern linguists should be sought. An original hypothesis is presented which underlines the common evolutionary connections between memory, consciousness and language and which also indicate the general considerations for constructing teaching systems to optimize the learning process. Learning a foreign language or specialized vocabulary are cases where this optimization could be easily accomplished. Practical experiments were carried out to study the language learning process. Towards this end, an algorithm optimizing the intervals between repetitions was created and implemented in software. This made it possible to obtain results, which were then statistically analyzed. A model of two variables of long-term memory, making it possible to calculate the optimal intervals between repetitions, was proposed on the basis of these results and theoretical assumptions. It was also established on the basis of these experiments, that there is no necessary correlation between intelligence as measured by the Wechsler test and parameters of knowledge obtained from persons learning to memorize specialized vocabulary. A dynamic of the changes observed during learning a foreign language or specialized vocabulary by this method was formalized. An original model of two variables of long-term memory is proposed, by which the phenomena related to learning and memorization is described. In accordance with the author's views that observations concerning memory and learning made during research on people have equivalents at the cellular level, a concept of synapse function is presented which would operationalize the variables found earlier. In accordance with the problems presented above, the results obtained may be summarized as follows: 1) The effectiveness of learning increases together with the minimization of the number of repetitions necessary to maintain knowledge in the learner's memory. 2) An original algorithm for the optimization of the intervals between repetitions can optimize the learning process through an approximation of the optimal intervals for certain independent items of knowledge. 3) Knowledge memorized by the optimization of intervals between repetitions must be divided on the smallest possible units, here called items. 4) Utilizing the optimization algorithm, it is necessary to remember that the quality of learning depends on the choice of material to be learned and the method of dividing this material into items.
The book Memory, Consciousness and Language: the application of an algorithmic procedure optimizing intervals between repetitions in glottodidactics proposes that such diverse fields as molecular biology, physiology, neurology, evolutionary theory, psychology, psycholinguistics, and linguistics be brought closer together. In the author's opinion, the artificially created boundaries separating these fields should be broken down. Evolutionary and biological approaches to problems related to memory, consciousness and language make a fuller understanding of the phenomena studied by linguists possible. On the other hand, the results obtained by language researchers should be utilized by natural scientists in planning their research. A historical sketch and both general and humanistic considerations on the topic of memory are presented, as are contemporary facts concerning the molecular foundations of memory with regards to the current state of knowledge in the field. Among other subjects, the part played by long term potentiation (LTP) in memory related phenomena is described, as is the role of NMDA receptors and other glutamate receptors in memory. Glutamate and other neurotransmitters important for the formation of memory are considered. A special place is assigned to retrograde messengers in memory formation, as well as the special role played by calcium in the activity of the synapses related to memorization. The role of protein kinases in learning and memory is described with special consideration given to protein kinase C. Attention is paid to the role of adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate in memory formation. The relationship between gene expression and protein synthesis to memory is detailed. Protein G and potassium channels are considered as factors related to the learning process. Neurological aspects and evolutionary processes related to memory are considered. It is argued that phenomena observed in everyday life have a material foundation and that, as a result of research on the cellular and molecular level, more general conclusions may be derived. The biological foundations of language formation and its relationship to memory and consciousness are described an original theory of the evolutionary origin of language is presented. This theory is in opposition to linguistic poligenesis, which is generally accepted by linguists, that of Homo sapiens. It proposes a gradual sequence of events leading to the origin of language within a wider framework of the evolution of information leading up to the origin of primordial phonemes and morphemes. The topic of the origin of language brings together seemingly disparate phenomena, examined by both the social and natural sciences. The author also presents the results of research carried out on people learning a foreign language by applying an algorithm which optimizes the intervals between repetitions. This algorithm makes the calculation of optimal intervals between repetitions possible, determining the longest possible time, during which memorization is not achieved. A universal dependence for the calculation of intervals between repetitions for a pair of associations (items), making it possible to obtain the described level of memorization and to shorten the time necessary for learning. Selected results from research on people memorizing a defined domain of knowledge are presented, as are the practical possibilities of obtaining an original algorithm optimizing the intervals between repetitions in foreign language learning. The theoretical foundations and practical aspects of learning by a method of ranking repetitions in specialized vocabulary learning through the application of the author's original data base is described. It is demonstrated that it is possible to improve the effectiveness of learning through the application of new discoveries concerning memory, learning and memorization. It is also demonstrated that with the help of a computer program it is possible to practically increase the learning efficiency in a short time, which increases together with the minimization of the number of repetitions necessary to maintain knowledge in the memory. This is possible, thanks to the application of the original algorithm optimizing intervals between repetitions. This renders the learning process more efficient through the approximation of optimal intervals for individual, independent items of knowledge. The information memorized by this method must be divided into the smallest possible units, here called items. During this process it is necessary to remember that the quality of learning depends on the choice of material to be learned and the method of dividing up the material. The learning parameters of people trained in the algorithm optimizing intervals between repetitions are presented. It is demonstrated that there is no correlation between intelligence (IQ) and the learning parameters obtained from people memorizing specialized vocabulary. An original hypothesis of the occurrence of two variables of memory is presented. This hypothesis is formulated on the basis of earlier presented research. The observed dynamics of changes during learning a foreign language or specialized vocabulary by this method are formulated. In the author's opinion, the existence of two variables of memory, namely retrievability (R) and stability (S), can be found in phenomena related to the processes of learning in memory tasks utilized in memory research and also in explaining phenomena related to conditioning and learning in animals as well. In accordance with the author's views that observations concerning memory and learning formed during research on people have equivalents at the cell level, hypothetical biological equivalents of the two variables are proposed. A model is also proposed, which would operationalize the previously discovered variables of long-term memory at the cellular level. An original conceptual model of glutamate synapse function as well as the concrete mechanisms that can explain synaptic changes (for example, alternative splicing of sub-items of the NMDA receptor). Proposals are also presented as to which synaptic elements may correspond to the variables R and S