Chunking, Memory and Music

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The term chunking originates from a paper written in 1956 by George A. Miller, The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two. Miller observed that some human cognitive tasks fit the model of a “channel capacity” (limitation) characterized by a roughly constant capacity in bits, but short-term memory did not. A variety of studies could be summarized by saying that short term memory had a capacity of about “seven plus or minus two”

          Chunking as the learning of long term structures

This usage originates from Millers (1956) idea of chunking as grouping. The emphasis is now on long term memory rather than short term memory alone. A chunk can then be defined as “a collection of elements having strong associations with one another, but weak associations with elements within other chunks” (Gobet 2001). Once we reach adulthood we will have decades of learning combinations and combinations within those. These associated connected chunks will at times take over and filter the environmental flow of possibilities into a predetermined paradigm. The more value that becomes associated within that chunking process the more primary it becomes. Emotional attachment would certainly enhance the primary role that chunking would play out in our lives.

          When chunking takes over

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We would like to presume that chunking is all a positive nature. It appears that value is the more accurate term to associate better understanding around this process. Resistance could be a level of value that becomes associated to certain clunks of information. That would explain the term “what we resist persists”. The resistance factor can assist in triggering an “amygdala high jacking”. This action will hold us in this current pattern of activity with little option of avoidance. What makes this more complex is that dopamine stimulation is upped during this experience. Rewarding the brain for this action. 

Music and chunking patterns

In 1997 Blueprint for Changes identified that something individual transferred from an artist or artists to the music that they had created. Recording environment might be a factor but we feel that even this is absorbed and then transferred by the artist. This research started by first observing that playing classical music around endangered species demonstrated an increased consistent increase in reproduction. We often learn from our mistakes and what happened next was just that. A different cd was played but by shear chance it was the same track of music player with a piano but a different artist performing. The music was identical to our ears but there was a different response that came out of the environment. It was difficult at first to rationalize exactly why that would be. Then clear when the only difference was the musician on each track. This was the start of almost 2 decades of research to first understand what the process was and then to implement a relative program. What George Miller suggested with his research with clumping, was that language and culture might cause restrictions with the flexibility of chunking. So, music became the clear choice of transfer to avoid this handicap. When a musician performs their relative chunking, it appears to leave an imprint. This imprint then is detected from within an individual that stimulates a feeling. The term “birds of a feather stick together” is most likely governed from this same process.

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The program involved creating and absorbing 7 chunking patterns within each track of music. There are 7 tracks with each program. There are 7 programs in total, each with a very similar program alongside totaling 14 programs in total. After the concept of the programs where developed, next was a self-selection program that did not involve words. This became a stumbling block for a period to work out how to create such a process. We are closing in on close to twenty years of research and the final stage has become a challenge to say the least. We have decided there cannot be any language in this program. Then an idea came. Well if music can carry information from an individual then so does visual art! 

kim potter