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The Law of Knowledge Capacity

The Law of knowledge capacity can be briefly stated as follows: the more you know on the topic, the easier it is to remember new facts. It is easier to remember them, because new knowledge and facts stick together with the previous knowledge and form new links automatically. You can’t know a lot and systematize your knowledge. The more structured your previous knowledge, the easier it is to add new information.

Alexander Suvorov and Napoleon Bonaparte are well-known for their good memory. They immediately systematized new knowledge and information.

Suvorov said:
"I believe that the words of Locke are true, the memory is the storage of the mind, but there are a lot of partitions in this closet, and therefore we need to put everything where it belongs."

Napoleon seems to agree with this point: "Various objects and different things are stacked in my head as they could be stacked in a chest. When I want to stop working on something, I close the drawer with the case and open the drawer with another case, so they do not mix. "

Once, when I was a student, my history professor calculated the year when Potemkin met Catherine II. Going through the dates the professor knew exactly they couldn’t have known each other and then checking these when they already knew each other, he narrowed the interval between the years and finally he came up with the exact year when the two were introduced. The logic was clear to me. It was also clear that I couldn’t possibly do that. The teacher knew the facts and I didn’t, so for him it was easier to connect the new information to something that he already knew and it would be easy for him to memorize a new fact. Yet as for me, I would require much more time than the professor to memorize that same fact. He would have coped with this task in an instant: Yeah, it happened in the same year, when something else happened, or two years before/ after something else happened.

Another example: I remember how I studied German at school and university. Teachers would explain the meaning of any word by using synonyms, or the words that sound alike. These explanations were rarely useful to me at the time. Now I have learned to establish the links between the words on my own, sometimes even between the words in different languages.

Additionally, people with common interests or the same profession have the ability to quickly grasp new information related to their area of expertise and swiftly memorize it. If two people, say, are interested in cooking, it only takes a few words to describe a recipe. On the other hand, a newbie cook would require a whole story of how exactly you cut a potato or add the vegetables to couscous. So a professional would rather ask questions to point out the new information, rather than to hear the everything again to better memorize it.

By the way, the ordering of facts on the timeline is the basis of holographic memory theory by Stanislav Muller. Visualizing lines as connections between the facts is one of the methods to organize your knowledge.

Certainly the law of knowledge capacity has its pitfalls. If you just try to learn new things, not to make sense of the information, you easily loose this knowledge – you forget it really fast. Comprehension, tying up new facts to what you already know will make it much easier for you to add up new knowledge.

Based on: http://www.mnemonica.ru/zakony-raboty-pamyati/zakon-obema-znanii


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