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Active Experiencing

 

Techniques Memory methods > Active Experiencing

Usage | Description | Discussion | See also

 

Usage

Break down a written script into a series of logically connected 'beats' or intentions. When performing (rehearsing too), rather than thinking about the lines, feel for the character's intention and through this let the lines come through spontaneously and naturally.

Description

Actors use this process to learn their lines quickly by putting themselves into the role of the person involved.  Almost like a spiritual medium, the actor is like vessel and channel for the character and their expression.

Michael Caine said of this: 'You must be able to stand there not thinking of that line. You take it off the other actor's face.'

This can also be used in more general learning.

Discussion

Noice et al. did a study where participants (ages 65 to 82) spent a four week period learning professional acting techniques, followed by rehearsal and performance. Although the training was not specifically targeted at memory, the participants were found to have significantly higher recall and recognition after the experiment.

It hence seems that memory can be improved just by learning to act. There are several keys to acting-as-learning:

  • Get your head into their head. Think as they think. Stand in their shoes. 'Get inside their skin'. Become the person. If you are not learning scripted lines for a play, you can still use this principle by selecting a person who would use what you are remembering, perhaps a lecturer, lawyer, super-salesperson or other.
  • Do it physically. Don't just run things through your head or speak the lines. Get up and move about like the other person. Use their gestures. Use their voice tone. Be the other person throughout.
  • Repeat until you can flow it naturally.

See also

References

Noice, T. & Noice, H. (1997). Effort and active experiencing as factors in verbatim recall. Discourse Processes, 23, 51-69

Noice, H., Noice, T., Pasqualina, P., Perrig, W. (1999). Improving memory in older adults by instructing them in professional actors' learning strategies. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 13, 4 , pp.315 - 328

 

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