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After everything I have been reading about right brain education and the development of photographic memory, it was interesting to read this article that validated it all from a different perspective. Basically, the article talks about a technique used during World War II to help train aircrew gunners to make split-second decisions as to whether or not to fire since they don’t want to shoot their own planes. The technique involved flashing photographs of the planes they had to recognise onto a screen for a few hundredths of a second so that they could speed up their aircraft identification skills. Through this exercise, they discovered by accident that you could develop photographic memory skills using this technique.
The rapid flashing of photographs sounds a lot like the rapid flashing of flash cards during right brain class, doesn’t it? They found that some subjects got so good at it that they could look at a page in a book for a short duration and then read it aloud from the image in their memory. This is exactly what some children who have received right brain training can do. This validates the flash card method for developing photographic memory.
The individuals that received this training were adults which confirms that even adults can develop photographic memories with rapid flashing. So if you ever needed confirmation that right brain training for children over 6 years is not too late, I hope this helps.
To facilitate the training, it might be worth while following the method they used to train their pilots. They did the training in darkened rooms so their eyes were dark adapted. With dark adapted eyes, they were able to hold on to the images for a few seconds after they were flashed. What’s more is that the residual images were positive rather than the negative images we see if we stare at an image for a fixed period of time and then look away (as in after-image training or photoeyeplay).
In the pilots’ training, they use a tachistoscope, however, the writer of the article, Bob Fritzius, tried a different method to achieve the same effect – rapidly opening and closing your eyes. Interestingly, this sounds exactly like the camera-shutter eye training described in Quantum Speed Reading by Yumiko Tobitani. Here’s the description of the process provided by Fritzius:
Rapidly open and close your eyes. This is not unlike exposing film in a camera. The first few hundred times you try this, you’ll probably get blurred images because your eyeballs aren’t yet convinced to hold still during the exposure. The images will be there but doubled, usually vertically. Keep trying! It’s also wise to make sure nobody is watching you.
After a month or so of your covert camera work you should find that your eyeballs begin to cooperate (the process might be called the steely eye)and images of big things with good contrast start to hang on. Big letters on billboards and soft drink machines make good targets.
With lots of work, assuming you haven’t been put away, you should find that text in books show up in blurry fashion, unreadable, but recognizable as fuzzy text. Large print documents may bring more rewarding results. As time goes on the acuity should improve to the point of readability.
You can cheat, or take a short cut if you please, by using a camera strobe flash in a dark room. Hold the flash unit above or to the side of your head and aim it at an outstretched arm. You’ll see a bright image of your arm that does not immediately fade away. The image may last for two or three seconds. If you lower your arm while the image is still active you can have your own spooky show.
You can also try the aircraft tachistoscope simulation he provides. I wonder if you could achieve the same thing by rapidly flashing images on a computer in a darkened room?