Once I was reading a difficult computer science text. As I reviewed a paper, I became desperate and frustrated. The theorems just slipped from my memory one by one to clear space for the next ones, and I did not get a sense of a whole understanding when I finished reading. I felt that nothing actually as memorized and I just couldn’t overcome this mathematical monster.
After an hour of this painful processing, I took a break to sum up what I understood. And here the things got much more interesting. In fact, I discovered that I understood more than I expected. I was able to give a detailed explanation of a problem instead of a short summary. Somehow while I was frustratingly moving from one step to another, the other part of my brain was collecting and organizing the information.
Thoughts on thoughts
According to the theory of unconscious thought, the parts of the human brain that support conscious thoughts represent a small grain of the horsepower of our neuronal system. When it comes to complicated tasks, our conscious attention helps us understand only a small part of data at a time.
The parts of a brain that operate outside the conscious attention dedicate much more resources to tasks processing. We do not realize this is going on, but we can feel the results.
I suppose, it was happening while I was reading computer science paper. My conscious attention could grasp a small amount of difficult information in my memory. However, in the background, the other parts of my mind were processing the same data more effectively, using other configurations and making things fit together into a coherent assembly.
When I tried to summarize the information I learned, my mind pulled the reserve of the unconscious processes and really surprised me by how much I understood due to the work of my unconscious attention. Well, at least, this sounds like a possible explanation.
Processing and summarizing
No matter what is the real source of the phenomenon I noticed, I suppose this strategy is something really useful for college students. It provides a deeper insight into a problem when you need to process a giant piece of complex information. Obviously, it would not do the whole work instead of you. Your unconscious attention will not memorize things while you are thinking about something else and slightly looking through the Physics book.
You have to devote your time and effort to processing information, step by step, full of attention and concentration. Once you have done a piece, make a step back and summarize what you have learned. The process may seem to be exhausting and frustrating, but if you are attentive enough, you’ll be surprised