Well, to start things off, in case no one knows what Asperger's is, it's this "disorder" involving kids, maybe an older teenager like me with problems socializing and whatnot, especially with alexithymia, not understanding emotions which I sort of do have occasional problems understanding other people's emotions..I've always wondered to myself why I feel like I'm saying something wrong or doing something wrong in a conversation or some other thing that turns off the other person's inclination to talk to me, which is somewhat of a downer..I'm trying to improve myself with interacting and talking more with people without having to follow a rigid, behavioral pattern that's usually expected, such as responding with the appropriate manner, choice of words so as not to offend the other person.. (as in me stereotypically responding the way normal humans do). Anyone have a these problems like me? If not, any suggestions on how I can better improve myself?
I'm probably a bit Asperger, and I think so are quite a proportion of people on the Net.It's largely a matter of learning. What has helped me particularly has been the mental exercise of putting myself in the other person's shoes, imagining how I would feel.
I have a 17yr old godson with Aspergers.Part of the problem with Ineligible's suggestion is that is almost impossible to put your self in someone ele's shoes. That the nature of the disorder.As far as getting by with the day to day stuff. Regular routines and detailed lists and instructions are very useful. When my godson's mom taught hime to make Kraft dinner, she wrote out a very long and detailed list of procedures, above and beyond the regular instructions on the box.As for the socialization, we have yet to discover a solid formula. Unfortunatly it often seems that mom, step dad and I are always on the poor kid's ass when he's acting inapropriatly. I feel really bad when I lose my temper but he really does push it.That said, he is improving and I'm sure he will able to live independantly in the future. Many things help... age, family support, a combination of regular and special highschool classes and travel (his father lives abroad).That's not much in the way of advice but I hope the insight is helpful
There's quite a range of intensity of the disorder - it sounds like your godson has it to a pretty severe degree.
According to my doc I have Autism or Asperger's, I don't remember which. I kinda have the same problems as you in talking with people, always have.One thing I've been trying for about six months now is observing strict rules of etiquette in my dealings with other people. I don't mean just being polite but also being gracious, there is a difference. What I've been trying is to let etiquette be my guild in a conversation. (not on here obviously ) What I'm trying to say is that since I tend to be distant from the other party in the conversation and since my instincts are generally wrong, I spend more time now thinking about what the polite response would be and using that rather than how I would normally respond or not respond for that matter.Yeah it does remove me from the conversation a bit more but for interaction with strangers or acquaintances or guys at a meeting it does seem to at least keep me from seeming, or coming off as, such a standoffish, stuck up snob. At least it seems that way to me. I don't know what they think. This is in no way a proven strategy. It's just something I've been trying.
I've made bold the part of this article that kinda demonstrates what I'm talking about in my previous post. Look a third of the way down the article. You might read the whole thing, it's rather interesting.
_The smartest man in the world is gay: Daniel Tammet, a 28-year-old autistic savant from the U.K., is teaching researchers worldwide about the complexity of our brain. But this gay man also has a thing or two to teach us about love
By Fred Bernstein | Jun 19, 2007
For months the New York Times best-seller list pegged Daniel Tammet's Born on a Blue Day this way: "a memoir by autistic savant who can perform extraordinary mathematical calculations." It's a correct description, though it misses much of what makes Tammet so interesting, including the fact that the writer is gay.
Tammet ignited our imagination, first with the 2005 U.K. Brainman and more recently through his appearance on 60 Minutes, each chronicling his talents for numbers and language. He once recited the irrational number pi to more than 22,000 decimal places from memory, a feat that took five hours, set a European record, and raised thousands of dollars for charity. He learned Icelandic--one of the world's trickiest languages--in just one week. While his nickname at school was "Rain Man," Tammet is mentally more agile than Dustin Hoffman's character. (Though equally cinematic--Warner Bros. Pictures has optioned Born on a Blue Day for adaptation into a feature film.) Furthermore, Tammet, who was diagnosed at age 25 with Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism, has a remarkable ability to explain how his brain functions.
Tammet, now 28, grew up in a poor family in London, where his parents managed to cope with his autism and childhood epilepsy while raising eight younger children. Tammet first became aware of his homosexuality at age 11. He endured a spell of unrequited love at 16 (he consoled himself by listening to his favorite singer, Karen Carpenter). At 20 he met Neil Mitchell, a computer programmer. Six months later they moved in together in a house an hour outside of London. Tammet doesn't believe there's a neurological link between his homosexuality and his extraordinary mental abilities. There is a connection in his life, however: Both have helped him understand and appreciate the wide range of human experience. What once made him a "freak" on the playground, he says, now makes him friends around the world.
Your book is a best seller. You've been on 60 Minutes. What has the reaction been?
I get letters and e-mails, sometimes hundreds a day, from people who feel for all sorts of reasons that they are outside the mainstream of society. Maybe they see me as someone they can relate to. My Asperger's means I've found it difficult my whole life to relate well to people and make myself available emotionally. What was once a barrier is now a bridge.
Scientists are studying your brain. What are they trying to learn?
My brain seems to be what I would describe as hyperassociative. It makes connections between information very rapidly and connections and relationships between very different things. It may sound prosaic, but scientists have no idea how people add 9 and 7 and get 16, much less how they do multiplication, and my case may shed some light on that. Some scientists believe there may be a little Rain Man in everyone, if only there were some way to unlock it.
On 60 Minutes, Morley Safer was so enthralled with your mathematical abilities, he never even talked about your being gay. Is that typical?
I wonder if I've been talking about so much other stuff that it's almost snuck past. It is mentioned in many articles but often just in passing. It's treated as just one part of my story, which is as it should be.
You seem to have had a remarkably easy time with your sexuality.
I never, ever felt growing up that the feelings that I had were unusual or anything that I should be self-conscious about. That may be one of the blessings of my autism.
Meaning, you don't know what society expects?
Yes. I approach things very intellectually. So I understood that most people will be attracted to the opposite sex but that some people will be different.
When did you first realize that you were different?
I realized that I was attracted to boys when I was about 11, and I remember very clearly that process of suddenly wanting to be closer to the other boys. Having a much more rigidly autistic way of thinking than I have today, I understood closeness as being a physical thing, a tangible thing, rather than emotional. I would literally stand close to the other boys to have that sense of being close to them, and of course that made them uncomfortable.
And did you feel at all uncomfortable in those situations?
I do know that I never had any self-consciousness about [being gay]. I considered it spontaneous, and just another part of becoming a man. It [was] entirely morally neutral.
Your parents said all the right things when you came out to them. Could it be that, because of your autism, all that mattered to them was that you were happy?
I hadn't thought about it in that way before, but that's a very fair comment. My parents were aware that I was different from an early age. And they wanted to support my difference.
Were they worried when you came out to them?
I think they wanted to know what I was saying. Did it mean I was going to be celibate? Or was I capable of a relationship with another man? People with autism can be vulnerable to the advances of other people. They can misinterpret signals. So my parents were anxious for me. And they wondered, Does this make us obsolete?
when parents who aren't gay hear that their son or daughter is gay, they wonder, Are we capable of giving advice, of explaining how things work? Of course, there are all kinds of general rules that they could give me that you can extrapolate from any relationship.
They weren't worried about whether you'd give them grandchildren? With nine kids in the family, the Tammet line is safe.
**You have Asperger's, but you don't seem at all awkward to me.
When I was 8 or 9, I started that process that begins immediately for most people--observing, learning how to read people's body language, knowing when to laugh at a joke, knowing how to make eye contact. People say to me nowadays that I'm good at conversation. And it's because I've practiced very hard. It's been a conscious, focused, deliberate enterprise to make myself a social person. It's great to know that you can teach yourself those things.**
How did you begin dating?
When I came back from [teaching in] Lithuania, I was 20, and for the first time there was a computer in our house.
Which you shared with eight brothers and sisters?
Yes. The fact that I had to share it, like everything else in the home, was a positive for me, because the computer can take over your life.
Some autistic people say that the Internet has liberated them.
It's true. There is something exciting and reassuring about communicating over the Internet. There is no eye contact, and you aren't thrown off by the intricacies of body language because everything is written down.
But you were in and out of the Internet dating world quite quickly.
One of the first people I began exchanging e-mails with was Nell. Pretty soon we decided to swap photos. Neil was beautiful-tall, with thick dark hair and shining blue eyes. We advanced to telephone calls. And then we decided to meet.
What was your first date like?
I can't drive, so Neil came to collect me. He was very quiet in the car, so I thought he didn't like me. But then he reached behind the seat and pulled out a bouquet of flowers. A few hours later at his house we kissed. We decided there and then that we were meant to be together. It sounds amazing, but the decision to move in together was actually a quick and easy one to make for both of us. I'm happy enough to say it was my first and last relationship. We're in our seventh year.
You sound like an old-fashioned romantic.
When you love someone anything is possible, including a relationship that stands the test of time. Love is giving yourself away. And you can only do that once. Otherwise you're giving away fragments of yourself.
How do you explain your luck in finding true love so quickly?
There had been years of preparation for when someone would come into my life. A lot of things are like that. Three quarters of my adult life has been spent together with Neil. The reason for that is not luck, really, but a lot of hard work.
People find it very easy to fall in love, but they find it much more difficult to actually live it out. They think, It's difficult, so it mustn't be right. They'll go on to another relationship, and they'll have the easy bit again, the unconscious bit, and then they'll move on.
Was your mother concerned about letting you go and live with Neil?
Obviously, at the beginning she didn't know Neil. Had I been straight, had I met a girl, of course there would have been concerns as to who this girl is. Because of my autism there was a higher concern as to whether the relationship would be successful, and if it wasn't, would it impact my ability to form other relationships in the future.
Is it as easy for you as it sounds?
I am able to handle myself fairly well. I'd accomplished a lot even before I'd met Neil. But relationships require heroism on the part of both people.
What do you mean by heroism?
You're opening yourself up completely to another person, and you can't know who this human being is, other than what they choose to reveal to you. Entering a relationship is very much an act of faith.
But it has to be a little bit harder for someone with your challenges.
Obviously, when a person is on the autistic spectrum, there are going to be elements that will affect the relationship.
Sometimes I need Neil to show a lot of patience, and repeat things quite a lot to make sure they've sunk in. Of course, routine is very important to me. He has to tell me about the things he planned to do in the day, and he tries to give me as much notice as possible. When I make food or tea he'll try to involve himself in those routines. We argue occasionally but never at length. They haven't been insurmountable obstacles. No part of me has made it impossible to live with me and to love me.
How do you reconcile being gay and being Christian?
There are many gay Christians. Some choose to be celibate. That would be a very hard choice for me. My own understanding is that the Bible is God-breathed. And I'm not a modernist, so I don't think you can chop and change the words. Still, the Bible is like a mirror. You end up reading it not as a reflection of how it is but of how you are. If you're a bigoted, narrow person, you will find bigotry in the Bible.
Have you read the entire Bible?
I haven't read the entire Bible--Ill be honest--and most Christians I know haven't. I do try to make time to sit and read it.
Do you have a social life?
I do have several very close friends. But I don't go out every Friday for drinks or anything like that. I like to spend a lot of time at home. In today's world, where you have huge billboards and advertising everywhere, cues--conscious and unconscious--are constantly being put into your head. For autistic people it can be overwhelming.
So you'd rather stay home?
Some people think the home is restrictive; when you go out into the street or to a big bar or club, this is what freedom looks like. For me it's the reverse. When you go into a public place there are codes about what you can eat, what you can drink, what you can say; you're restricting yourself the moment you enter the public sphere. At home those codes don't exist. You can wear anything or nothing. You can talk about whatever you want. You can go whichever way you want to go.
What kind of things do you and Neil do together?
We go for walks together, discuss ideas to an extent. There was a local charity quiz show we played in recently. We didn't win. We came in 14th out of 76, which is a pretty fair result. One of the questions was "Name Britney Spears's children." I could name the moons of Mars, [but] I wouldn't know anything about Britney Spears.
Is it hard for you to do interviews like this one?
I am by nature reserved. Certainly more so than Americans are, I've heard.
He is probably shyer than I am. He has chosen not to be available to the press. His feeling, which I think is entirely justified, is that I'm the one who has made a claim on the public space. He hasn't.
Do you think much about the causes of homosexuality?
I don't think we'll ever truly understand what makes someone gay or not gay. It's a flavor of being human. But certainly it's fixed prenatally. I think autism is the same way. I didn't get it from anything I was exposed to as a child.
Will you ever have children of your own?
I don't expect to, but I will be an uncle many times over, so, happily, there will be children in my life.
Why won't you have children?
I do personally feel that the ideal is for a child to have a mother and a father. Of course, there are situations where that can't happen. And I see no reason why gay people shouldn't be able to adopt. But gay people shouldn't feel they have to have children to be considered a normal part of society. You can contribute in all sorts of ways beyond procreation. We are different in some fundamental respect. One thing I want to get across is that we shouldn't be afraid of being different.
Would you like to be able to marry Neil?
We should have the same rights to visit in hospitals, to inherit--all the rights and responsibilities that come with marriage. But we're not male and female. Why should we have to be shoehorned into something that wasn't made for us? Marriage can be retained for men and women and a separate but equal institution be available to same-sex couples. We are different; let's not only ask other people to respect our difference but also respect it ourselves.
Is there a downside to your mental gift?
You feel you're obliged to do something with it. Not to waste it. That necessarily takes up a lot of time and energy. Time that other people would spend doing casual stuff. Sometimes people ask me if I am a genius. I always say it's not for me to say. You can't go up to a lunatic and say "Are you mad?"
RELATED ARTICLE: His beautiful mind: inside the brain of an autistic savant lies a parallel universe.
By Rachel Dowd
In the mind of Daniel Tammet, Wednesdays are blue. So is the number 9 which also happens to be tall and to evoke feelings of enormity. He prefers multiplication to any other mathematical calculation, though he can divide a sum to nearly a hundred decimal places almost instantly. His favorite number is 4 because it's both shy and quiet, 89 reminds him of falling snow, and 5 is loud like a thunderclap. The word thunder is orange--as is any word beginning with the letter t--but orange is actually clear and shiny like ice.
Suffice it to say that Daniel Tammet's brain doesn't work like yours.
For one, he's a savant, which by definition means he possesses an extraordinary brilliance or talent coupled with a developmental disorder. Darold Treffert, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School and author of Extraordinary People, explains that there are three levels of savant syndrome: Splinter skills include obsessive preoccupation and memorization of facts and trivia--which suddenly explains that guy we've all met who can list every Beatles song ever written, including track length and album of origin. The talented savant is someone who has an expertise in music, art, or math that's particularly remarkable given his disability. But a prodigious savant, of whom Tammet is one of perhaps 50 in the world, has skills so outstanding that they would be amazing even without the contrast to his handicap.
"Absent the disability, we'd call a prodigious savant a genius," says Treffert, who served as a consultant on the movie Rain Man. "It's a rare condition within an already rare condition."
Tammet's particular developmental disorder is Asperger's syndrome, a mild. high-functioning form of autism. Statistics on how many autistic people live specifically with Asperger's are inexact, but if you consider that more than half a million people in the United Kingdom (where Tammet lives) have some form of autism, his disorder is the one thing about Tammet that isn't so unique. One out of 10 people with an autistic disorder shows some type of heightened talent. People with Asperger's often have normal to high IQs and good language and learning ability. However like those with other types of autism, they have difficulty with social interactions, insist on routine, and exhibit a tendency for obsessive behavior. For Tammet, that means he weighs his morning cereal to exactly 45 grams and counts every item of clothing he's wearing before leaving the house, Friends popping by without warning can cause a meltdown, as can a trip to a large, crowded supermarket. Actually, if the last two serve as criteria, we might all be a little autistic.
As for his prodigious talents, Tammet can calculate numbers in a blink of an eye. He's recited the number pi to more than 22,500 decimal places from memory. He speaks 10 languages, one of which he learned in a week. It's all remarkable, of course. But it's how he does it that makes Tammet so rare. even amid the extraordinary circle he runs in.
Tammet sees numbers (and to a certain extent, words) as shapes, colors, textures, movements, even emotions--a condition known as synesthesia. He has a unique visual response to every number up to 10,000. When doing multiplication he sees two distinct shapes spontaneously create a third between them. which he understands as a new number. Multiplying any number by 11 is accompanied by the sensation of numbers tumbling downward in his head. "It's like doing math without having to think," he writes in his memoir, Born on a Blue Day.
Daniel Bor of the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, along with colleague Jac Billington of Cambridge University's Autism Research Centre, studied Tammet's ability to process sequential numbers and remember them in correct order. Tammet can recall a series of 12 digits, compared to about six for most people. "Daniel's ability to remember numbers and possibly also his ability for calculations, though that's far more of a mystery, are due to a combination of two factors," says Bor. "First. his Asperger's syndrome allows him to concentrate more deeply on one thing and so excel in an area he chooses to obsess over. Second, we think Daniel's very unusual form of synesthesia causes him to convert those numbers into something even more structured and ordered, making it easier to remember."
It's quite beautiful--and oddly enviable--when you think about it. Tammet's autism could have left him detached and isolated, but his unique relationship with numbers provides him with a dynamic community of personalities and intrigues that may actually exceed the experiences of the average person, "Many savants retreat into their rituals and expertise when they're anxious and upset, and to that extent their abilities become a comfort," explains Treffert. "Daniel's experience is richer. It's a place for him to wander and explore; it colors the mind. It's more than just a comfort. it's enrichment."
So, the question remains: Does your brain have the same. albeit dormant, capacity as Tammet's? Yes and no, says Treffert. "We're finding that some hidden potential exists in us all, but we're not all hidden Picassos."
COPYRIGHT 2007 Liberation Publications, Inc.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company._
Sure thang babe.The article made me wanna read the book. I just haven't been anywhere to see if I could find it.
Love is giving yourself away. And you can only do that once. Otherwise you're giving away fragments of yourself.
What a beautiful statement!
Originally Posted By: albeitmyselfYeah, it's a beautiful statement except for those who've given their love and had it trampled on. It kind of makes those people feel like crap. I can relate to that...
More on TammetInside the Savant Mind: Tips for Thinking from an Extraordinary Thinker Daniel Tammet is the author of two books, Born on a Blue Day and Embracing the Wide Sky, which comes out this month. He’s also a linguist and holds the European record for reciting the first 22,514 decimal points of the mathematical constant Pi. Mind Matters editor Jonah Lehrer chats with Tammet about how his memory works, why the IQ test is overrated, and a possible explanation for extraordinary feats of creativity.LEHRER: Your recent memoir, Born on a Blue Day, documented your life as an autistic savant. You describe, for example, how you are able to quickly learn new languages, and remember scenes from years earlier in cinematic detail. Are you ever surprised by your own abilities?TAMMET: I have always thought of abstract information—numbers for example—in visual, dynamic form. Numbers assume complex, multi-dimensional shapes in my head that I manipulate to form the solution to sums, or compare when determining whether they are prime or not.For languages, I do something similar in terms of thinking of words as belonging to clusters of meaning so that each piece of vocabulary makes sense according to its place in my mental architecture for that language. In this way I can easily discern relationships between words, which helps me to remember them.In my mind, numbers and words are far more than squiggles of ink on a page. They have form, color, texture and so on. They come alive to me, which is why as a young child I thought of them as my “friends.” I think this is why my memory is very deep, because the information is not static. I say in my book that I do not crunch numbers (like a computer). Rather, I dance with them.None of this is particularly surprising for me. I have always thought in this way so it seems entirely natural. What I do find surprising is that other people do not think in the same way. I find it hard to imagine a world where numbers and words are not how I experience them!LEHRER: In Embracing the Wide Sky you criticize the IQ test as a vast oversimplification of intelligence. You write: "There is no such thing as proofs of intelligence, only intelligence." Could you explain what you mean by that?TAMMET: When I was a child, my behavior was far from being what most people would label “intelligent.” It was often limited, repetitive and anti-social. I could not do many of the things that most people take for granted, such as looking someone in the eye or deciphering a person’s body language, and only acquired these skills with much effort over time. I also struggled to learn many of the techniques for spelling or doing sums taught in class because they did not match my own style of thinking.I know from my own experience that there is much more to “intelligence” than an IQ number. In fact, I hesitate to believe that any system could really reflect the complexity and uniqueness of one person’s mind, or meaningfully describe the nature of his or her potential.The bell curve distribution for IQ scores tells us that two thirds of the world’s population have an IQ somewhere between 85 and 115. This means that some four and a half billion people around the globe share just 31 numerical values (“He’s a 94,” “You’re a 110,” ”I’m a 103”), equivalent to 150 million people worldwide sharing the same IQ score. This sounds a lot to me like astrology, which lumps everyone into one of twelve signs of the zodiac.Even if we cannot measure and assign precise values to it in any “scientific” way, I do very much think that “intelligence” exists and that it varies in the actions of each person. The concept is a useful and important one, for scientists and educators alike. My objection is to thinking that any ‘test’ of a person’s intelligence is up to the task. Rather we should focus on ensuring that the fundamentals (literacy, etc.) are well taught, and that each child’s diverse talents are encouraged and nourished.LEHRER: You also describe some recent scientific studies on what happens inside the brain when we learn a second language. Do you think this recent research should change the way we teach languages?TAMMET: Thanks to the advances in modern scanning technology we know more today than ever before just how what’s happening inside the brain when we’re learning a language. That we can speak at all is nothing less than an astonishing cognitive achievement.Learning a second language, particularly when that language is not one that the person has to use on a regular basis, is an extremely difficult task. I think it is a mistake to underestimate the challenges of it. Students should be aware that the difficulties they will face are inherent in what they are doing, and not any failing on their part.One of the most interesting scientific discoveries about how language works (and how it could be taught) is “phonaesthesia”—that certain sounds have a meaningful relationship to the things they describe. For example, in many languages the vowel sound “i” is associated with smallness—little, tiny, petit, niño, and so on—whereas the sound “a” or “o” is associated with largeness—grand, gross, gordo, etc. Such links have been found in many of the world’s languages. These findings strongly imply that learners would benefit from learning to draw on their own natural intuitions to help them understand and remember many of the foreign words that they come across.Another finding, by cognitive psychologists Lera Boroditsky, Lauren A. Schmidt, and Webb Phillips, might also offer a useful insight into an important part of learning a second language. The researchers asked German and Spanish native speakers to think of adjectives to describe a range of objects, such as a key. The German speakers, for whom the word “key” is masculine, gave adjectives such as “hard,” “heavy,” “jagged,” and “metal,” whereas the Spanish speakers, for whom “key” is feminine, gave responses like : “golden,” “little,” ”lovely” and “shiny.” This result suggests that native speakers of languages that have gendered nouns remember the different categorization for each by attending to differing characteristics, depending on whether the noun is “male” or ”female.” It is plausible that second-language learners could learn to perceive various nouns in a similar way to help them remember the correct gender.Regardless of how exactly a person learns a second language, we do know for sure that it is very good for your brain. There is good evidence that language learning helps individuals to abstract information, focus attention, and may even help ward off age-related declines in mental performance.LEHRER: You advocate a theory of creativity defined by a cognitive property you call "hyper-connectivity." Could you explain?TAMMET: I am unusually creative—from visualizing numerical landscapes composed of random strings of digits to the invention of my own words and concepts in numerous languages. Where does this creativity come from?My brain has developed a little differently from most other people’s. Aside from my high-functioning autism, I also suffered from epileptic seizures as a young child. In my book, I propose a link between my brain’s functioning and my creative abilities based on the property of ‘hyper-connectivity’.In most people, the brain’s major functions are performed separately and not allowed to interfere with one another. Scientists have found that in some brain disorders however, including autism and epilepsy, cross-communication can occur between normally distinct brain regions. My theory is that rare forms of creative imagination are the result of an extraordinary convergence of normally disconnected thoughts, memories, feelings and ideas. Indeed, such “hyper-connectivity” within the brain may well lie at the heart of all forms of exceptional creativity.LEHRER: How were you able to recite from memory the first 22,514 numbers of Pi? And do you have advice for people looking to improve their own memory?TAMMET: As I have already mentioned, numbers to me have their own shapes, colors and textures. Various studies have long demonstrated that being able to visualize information makes it easier to remember. In addition, my number shapes are semantically meaningful, which is to say that I am able to visualize their relationship to other numbers. A simple example would be the number 37, which is lumpy like oatmeal, and 111 which is similarly lumpy but also round like the number three (being 37 x 3). Where you might see an endless string of random digits when looking at the decimals of Pi, my mind is able to “chunk” groups of these numbers spontaneously into meaningful visual images that constitute their own hierarchy of associations.Using your imagination is one very good way to improve your own memory. For example, actors who have to remember hundreds or even thousands of lines of a script do so by actively analysing them and imagining the motivations and goals of their characters. Many also imagine having to explain the meaning of their lines to another person, which has been shown to significantly improve their subsequent recall.Here is another tip from my book. Researchers have found that you are more likely to remember something if the place or situation in which you are trying to recall the information bears some resemblance—color or smell, for example—to where you originally learned it. A greater awareness therefore of the context in which we acquire a particular piece of information can help improve our ability to remember it later on.Are you a scientist? Have you recently read a peer-reviewed paper that you want to write about? Then contact Mind Matters editor Jonah Lehrer, the science writer behind the blog The Frontal Cortex and the book Proust Was a Neuroscientist. His next book, How We Decide, will be available in February 2009.