The Bigger Picture
"We're here to fight them, aren't we?"
"No, we're here to defeat them!"
The short clip is from Hornblower (Episode : The Duchess & the Devil). It shows nicely why Horatio Hornblower is in charge and the blond hothead not. The 'bigger picture' is even bigger than to take the enemy without a fight and potential losses. By disguising in their adversaries clothes, taking their landing boat, Hornblower and his men are able to deceive the the crew on the big mother ship and take it by surprise. Well, that is a bigger picture.
Get organized in chunks
Play along for a moment. Look for 10 seconds at the following letters and try to remember them :
RTVSI NLAG DO EYO RHE
Now look away and say out loud the letters. It does not even have to be in the correct order. Pretty hard, isn't it?
Please scroll down to continue.
Now try again :
THE ROAD IS VERY LONG
Exactly the same letters and spaces, but this time it is easy. Why? The letters are grouped into a meaningful chunk. We are familiar with this organization of the same letters, we can remember the letters by the logical ordering of the sentence and even higher up by the meaning of the sentence. By means of upchunking, we can handle much more information easily. Also, the scope of your decisions is much wider, as in the case of Hornblower.
In an interesting study, the following was done. On a chessboard, random pieces were put. Participants, ranging from non-players to grand masters, were asked to look at the setting on the board, close their eyes, the pieces were taken off the board and they were asked to put the pieces back on the board on the same positions. They were allowed to open their eyes. The surprising result was that on the average there was hardly any difference between non-players, skilled ones and grand masters. The tables were turned in the second experiment, which was identical, except for this time the pieces were not put on the board in a randomly fashion, but represented actual situation taken from actual chess competitions. The non-players and low level players scored about the same as before, but the skilled ones and especially the masters and grand masters scored very much higher. It turned out that they did not remember single pieces, but configurations of pieces, patterns. Upchunks from pieces to groups, which are much easier to remember.