Research on how pattern-finding contributes to memorization?post by DirectedEvolution (AllAmericanBreakfast) · 2022-03-23T21:42:37.742Z · LW · GW · 2 comments
This is a question post.
I notice that I have a much easier time memorizing things when I find a pattern. Often, I fail to think to even look for a pattern. As an example, I had a hard time memorizing the unit circle until I realized that the numerator is just counting up and down from sqrt(n) <-> -sqrt(n), for n = 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 1, 2, 3, 4, starting at different points for sin and cos, while the denominator is always 2. Before I saw that pattern, I was trying to memorize the values of cos and sin at particular degrees - the values in the individual parentheses, one by one. I completely missed the pattern when I looked at it this way. Noticing the pattern required actively looking for one, and also noticing that 1 = sqrt(1).
Likewise I've found tremendous utility in learning math by reducing complex equations to simpler underlying forms. For example, take this equation:
It's much more legible when you realize that it has the form:
A * (B cos(wt) + C sin(wt))/(B^2 + C^2).
But you have to think to look for that, and notice that 4d^2w^2 = (2dw)^2.
I'd love to know if there's any research into memory formation that is about the difference for patterned vs. unpatterned data, or the educational utility of having students deliberately look for patterns. "Patterns memorization" on Google Scholar isn't turning up much. Do you have any ideas?
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