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Author Topic: Sudden flash of insight  (Read 617 times)
AE6RF
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« on: August 16, 2006, 06:42:08 AM »

Hi all,

Saw this in an article and just HAD to post it here due to its parallels in learning Morse Code...

"    
Take the sentence "Mary had a little lamb." The number of information chunks in this sentence depends on one's knowledge of the poem and the English language. For most native speakers of English, the sentence is part of a much larger chunk, the familiar poem. For someone who knows English but not the poem, the sentence is a single, self-contained chunk. For someone who has memorized the words but not their meaning, the sentence is five chunks, and it is 18 chunks for someone who knows the letters but not the words."

Found here "http://scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?articleID=00010347-101C-14C1-8F9E83414B7F4945"

It seems that the learning process (for me at least) is a) letters, b) general QSO syntax and grammer and c) word-level recognition.

Hope this makes as much sense to others as it does it me...

73 de Donald
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NG0K
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2006, 08:34:34 AM »

I "think" I know what your getting at, but correct me if I'm missing the point.  

As I continue to gain skills in CW, occasionally I can complete a sentence before it is completely sent because I understand the point of the topic.  But only on the short phrases because I'm still in the early stages of being able to headcopy slower code.

As a result, I don't feel like I need to write down nearly as much and even if I miss a few charactors or even a couple of words, I still know what is being said.  Very cool!

73, Doug NG0K
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73, Doug - NG0K
WB2WIK
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2006, 05:37:06 PM »

The only time you need to process the eighteen "chunks" of information (I'd rather call them "bits") is if you have absolutely no idea what you're listening to and cannot anticipate the next bit.

In normal conversation, this almost never happens.

It happens if somebody sends you their telephone number, perhaps.

But in regular conversation -- nope.

That's why it's incredibly silly to copy each letter, especially if you're writing them down!

WB2WIK/6
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AE6RF
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2006, 12:15:55 AM »

> The only time you need to process the eighteen "chunks"
> of information (I'd rather call them "bits") is if you
> have absolutely no idea what you're listening to and
> cannot anticipate the next bit.

Well... In calling them bits you seem to have missed the main point. That as a person learns, the context that they understand and can process grows.

Most people start off learning Morse Code letter by letter. That is the size of the chunk.

As people get better at Morse Code, they start taking the context of a typical CW QSO into account. They don't need to actually receive "F-B O-M" instead the entire "FB OM" becomes a chunk.

Finally as things "sink in" they start hearing complete words rather than letters. The words become the chunk.

People retain more or less the same powers of cognition, but as they learn and practice more, the chuncks get bigger.

I believe the description they gave in the article very strongly corresponds to how most people learn code.

>In normal conversation, this almost never happens.

> It happens if somebody sends you their telephone
> number, perhaps.
>
> But in regular conversation -- nope.

I'm glad that you've reached that level of expertise, however there are still a lot of folks climbing the ladder.

-Donald
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KC8ROE
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2006, 07:45:32 AM »

Chunking is a well documented, well studied process.   Calling the fragments 'bits' as opposed to 'chunks' is fine, but you should realise that the entire educational world disagrees with you on the name.   As do many studies on the process.

In fact, all complex learning is developed through chunking.   It has to do with the fact that virtually all outside stimulus must pass through the language center of the brain until we have a learned response.   The first 100 times you hit your thumb with a hammer the nerves transmit the information to the receptive language center, which develops an appropriate response (saying 'Ow', or whatever you might say when you hit your thumb) which then passes the processed information to other areas of the brain which, after further processing passes it to the expressive language center and on to your mouth.

After around 100 times or so the "hammer hit by thumb - say 'Ow'" chunk has been developed and no longer needs to pass through the receptive language center.

In fact needing to process 18 chunks in normal conversation happens constantly, it is just that those 18 chunks are much larger as your ability grows and we sometimes hold the chunks in memory.   If someone says to you "Here is a list of gocery items", you might have created two chunks such as:  "Here is a list" and "grocery items", and because both of these short phrases are already well known in your mind you hold the two chunks together in memory prior to processing them and turning them into a contiguous whole.   But if you are given a list of 30 items you might need to write down each chunk (item on the list) depending on your memory.   Alternatively, you might create some larger chunks out of the list of items, such as a chunk for fruits and vegetables, a chunk for meats, etc.   In any case if someone gives you a list of 1000 items you will need to write it down.

Sorry if this post is overly long, this topic is one I am rather close to since I am working on my masters in Speech and Language Pathology.
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KE7HLR
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2006, 09:14:33 AM »

> Take the sentence "Mary had a little lamb." The
> number of information chunks in this sentence
> depends on one's knowledge of the poem and the
> English language. For most native speakers of
> English, the sentence is part of a much larger
> chunk, the familiar poem. For someone who knows
> English but not the poem, the sentence is a single,
> self-contained chunk. For someone who has memorized
> the words but not their meaning, the sentence is
> five chunks, and it is 18 chunks for someone who
> knows the letters but not the words."

I would argue that you don't even need to know the whole poem to pick up that sentence in 5 "chunks."

It's been known for a long time that you "read" your native written language in whole word units, not letter by letter, slowing to examine letters only on new or difficult words.

It's also been shown that the order of letters *within* a word doesn't matter as long as the first and last letter are there and the context is clear.

For example, you probably won't have any problem reading this:

"Mray had a lttile lmab, it feelce was withe as sonw,
And erveywhree taht Mray wnet, the lmab was srue to go."

I'm sure, with enough practice and use, this language phenomenon (words instead of letter-strings) would occur with Morse Code also -- I'm studying for the Element 1 exam, and I already can recognize "at", "as" and "the" as words without writing down "t" "h" "e"...

~Dan KE7HLR
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AE6RF
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2006, 01:04:03 PM »

A fun little experiment...

Take a well known phrase, such as "Mary had a little lamb..."

Put spaces down for each letter, but leave the letters blank.   (**** *** * ****** ****)

Now, ask a friend to guess the first letter. Record how many guesses it takes to get "m". Fill the "m" in.
(M*** *** * ****** ****)

Now, have them guess the second letter. Record the number of guesses.  Fill the "a" in.

(Ma** *** * ****** ****)

The total number of possibilities is 26 to the power of the number of characters (18). Those possibilities are constrained by the rules of English spelling and grammer.

However, I believe most folks will have the entire thing before "Mary h** * ****** ****"

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WB2WIK
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2006, 03:21:57 PM »

>RE: Sudden flash of insight       Reply
by AE6RF on August 17, 2006    Mail this to a friend!
A fun little experiment...
However, I believe most folks will have the entire thing before "Mary h** * ****** ****"<

::And there you have defined the popular game show, "Wheel of Fortune."  Some people can fill in 100 blanks by seeing only two or three letters in the correct positions.  Those are called, "winners."
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2006, 03:25:33 PM »

>RE: Sudden flash of insight       Reply
by KE7HLR on August 17, 2006    Mail this to a friend!
It's also been shown that the order of letters *within* a word doesn't matter as long as the first and last letter are there and the context is clear.<

::It's even simpler than that.  The order of words within a page, and order of paragraphs within a chapter and the order of chapters within a novel doesn't really matter, either.  I recall from my course "Evelyn Woods Reading Dynamics" (this was in 1969...), after a while the instructor had us reading novels we'd never seen before, from the last word on the last page up to the first word on the first page, as fast as we could physically turn the pages.  You can read a 300 page book this way in about five minutes, if your hand doesn't give out from page flipping.  Almost everyone in class could pass a 60-question detailed comprehension test about the contents of the novel after doing this.  Nobody would have ever believed that possible on the first day of the same course.

WB2WIK/6
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AE6RF
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2006, 03:58:24 PM »

>I recall from my course "Evelyn Woods Reading
>Dynamics" (this was in 1969...), after a while the
>instructor had us reading novels we'd never seen
>before, from the last word on the last page up to the
>first word on the first page, as fast as we could
>physically turn the pages. You can read a 300 page
>book this way in about five minutes, if your hand
>doesn't give out from page flipping. Almost everyone
>in class could pass a 60-question detailed
>comprehension test about the contents of the novel
>after doing this. Nobody would have ever believed
>that possible on the first day of the same course.

Alright then...

We develop the same techniques for Morse Code and make a million. All we have to do is lobby the FCC to restablish the code requirement...

Somehow the answer of "read 500 books without taking notes" isn't as satisfying...

hi hi hi hi hi

-Donald
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2006, 05:13:08 PM »

>RE: Sudden flash of insight  Reply  
by AE6RF on August 17, 2006  Mail this to a friend!  
We develop the same techniques for Morse Code and make a million. All we have to do is lobby the FCC to restablish the code requirement...<

::For HF privileges, there still is a code requirement.  It hasn't gone anywhere, and with any luck, it won't.
 
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