Play It Again Sam, Part I - The Reiteration Principle 

by Matthew Turco
May, 2002
 
Two weeks ago, Star Wars Episode II was released. And in the first five days, I watched it three times. Now, without going into the film itself, let me describe the experience.
 
The first time through, it was all story, plot and the overwhelming special effects. The second time, I experienced less overwhelm and enjoyed more of the intricacies of the plot, like little harbingers at the beginning of the movie that I didn’t consciously notice the first time. And the only reason that I watched it the third time so soon was because after mulling over certain scenes a number of times, I had new questions that I simply couldn’t wait to answer (note: I haven’t yet read the book)
 
The whole experience, and the process itself, got me thinking about image steaming. Much has been made of the immediate feedback loop in image streaming -- talking aloud to a partner or tape recorder. Meanwhile, little has been made of the deep feedback loop as in the improvitaping technique and the debriefing process.
 
And herein lies an additional dimension to image streaming that might offer some clues as to why image streaming increases the intelligence of many of its practitioners…and why it may not produce similar results in a few others.
 
Psychologists have studied memory countless times, but one experiment that I heard about recently intrigued me. There’s an accident (a staged accident) and 30 people are interviewed as to what happened. Now, you might think that those 30 people might provide 30 somewhat similar stories, except for perhaps a few minor details.
 
Quite the opposite.


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The psychologists found that even major details of the accident varied widely and were often completely wrong. Some couldn’t even remember who had hit whom!!
 
Now let’s suppose the psychologists had used a movie and allowed the participants to view the movie several times. Naturally, their descriptions would improve both in accuracy and in detail. Eventually, the law of diminishing returns would set in and additional viewing wouldn’t help much, but one thing is certain, repeating the process accessed more of the person’s resources.
 
Now let’s take this one step further. Instead of simply watching the movie several times, let’s imagine the participants would be allowed to discuss it with each other between each viewing. Again, the law of diminishing return would set in, but it would happen at a much later point because experiencing the same event through different eyes would reinvigorate the mind and allow it to see, hear, and feel the event on a level far beyond what they could experience on their own.
 
Now, before part two of this article, let me offer this suggestion for you image streamers -- listen to your tapes (even if you image stream with a partner, get into the practice of taping them) and listen to them at least twice.
 
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go see Star Wars again -- you know, for reiteration’s sake…
 


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©1996-2004 Matthew Turco unless otherwise noted

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