Sunday, 30 June 2013

Jessica Simpson Gives Birth to a Baby Boy, and We've Got All the Deets on the Name and More!

Big congrats to Jessica Simpson and her fiance Eric Johnson—they've given birth to a baby boy named Ace Knute Johnson, Us Weekly confirms.

Baby Ace was born today in Los Angeles via a scheduled C-section.
"Ace Knute (pronounced Ka-nute) Johnson has arrived! Mom and baby are doing great," her rep tells Us. "Jessica, Eric and Maxwell are thrilled to welcome the new addition to their family."
Baby Ace joins big sister Maxwell, who is just over a year old.
So exciting! OK, friends—what do we think of the name Ace? Discuss!
Photo: Corbis

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Exclusive: Jeff Koons on His New Champagne Dream

ugly truth
Photo: Courtesy of Dom Pérignon

This month, art legend Jeff Koons collaborates with Dom Pérignon on a limited edition rosé set. A modified (and miniature) version of his Balloon Venus piece, it's a sculpture that's also a bottle case. Open it and you'll reveal a bottle of Dom Pérignon Rosé Vintage 2003.  (The original Balloon Venus is currently on display at New York City's Gagosian Gallery.)

  Koons was inspired by the history, sensuality, and creativity that both his art and the champagne possess.  He tells, “The Balloon Venus represents to me an object from the Paleolithic time period; the champagne of Dom Pérignon is an old champagne. It’s not Paleolithic but it represents history, and that is what the Balloon Venus represents."

"And the Balloon Venus represents sensuality; it represents the continuation of life’s energy. And just like champagne, a great vintage also is representing this vintage but also the vintages that will come. It’s about the continuation of something, it’s a continued creative process. And at the same time, this moment, this edge of today and future vintages to come, and the Balloon Venus represents the same thing: our human history and aspect of the future. It’ a very sensual object.”

  As expected, the pieces are quite limited, and also quite costly: $20,000, to be exact.  Although when you consider that Koons's Tulips sculpture sold for over $33 million at auction last year, it seems like a pretty good deal.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Best Dressed: Georgia May Jagger

Picking a favorite outfit from Clueless is like a trying to pick your favorite “Get Lucky” remix–it’s just impossible. Still, we’ve always had a special place in our hearts for the look Cher sports during her failed at-home date with Christian: a clingy red dress, tousled hair, and bold lipstick. Yesterday Georgia May Jagger made our Clueless dreams a reality. Jagger paired a beaded red dress with a tiny black shoulder bag and silver sandals that showed off her red pedicure. Never did we think we’d be advocating a strappy sandal, something so dated it’s like the shoe equivalent “The Rachel,” but the metallic stilettos really work with Jagger’s nineties-minded look. She avoids looking like an Alicia Silverstone body double by keeping her hair messily undone and her makeup modern and simple, save for a smack of red lipstick.
We suggest channeling Jagger’s babe look for summer nights out, because as Cher Horowitz always said if your date dresses better than you, what will you bring to the relationshop?
MUST: Nasty Gal Black Shoulder Bag – $48
TRUST: T by Alexander Wang Red Silk Dress – $134.99
LUST: Jimmy Choo Metallic Leather Sandals – $850

Arnold Schwarzenegger Thinks Sylvester Stallone Hits Like a Vegetarian in 'Escape Plan' Trailer

Escape Plan
Are you ready for your daily dose of testosterone and brute force? I hope so, because Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are in another movie together. Three cheers for bulging biceps and displays of manliness!
The movie is called Escape Plan, and it stars Stallone as the world's foremost authority on structural security. But after he designs an escape-proof prison, he's framed and incarcerated in the one place he made sure no one could break out of.
Summit Entertainment
Enter Schwarzenegger, with slightly more gray hair than we're used to but with no shortage of ass-kicking abilities. He plays an inmate in the inescapable prison, and together he and Stallone plan their way out.
Escape Plan  will be released on October 18. Check out the trailer now.

Emma Watson Covers Teen Vogue

Emma Watson gets edgy in the August 2013 issue of Teen Vogue. The actress shows-off her back-to-school style and talks about her own fashion preferences.
“I shop at Aritzia, and Topshop, and I also love A.P.C. and 3.1 Phillip Lim. Chanel is amazing, and I wore a really beautiful black Dior dress recently that I thought was really cool. And I love Christopher Kane, Peter Pilotto…I’m always keeping an eye out for people who are new or up-and-coming,” she said.
Watson also admits that she didn’t realize just how famous she was until she made her move to the U.S.
“I think, in a way, I was very protected during ‘Harry Potter‘, because I was working all the time. I would get in the car, go to the studio, and go home,” she said, adding that she didn’t realize her star power until she began attending Brown University in 2009. ”It sounds stupid, or completely unbelievable, but that was when I really realized that I was famous. There are still days when I deal with it horribly and there are days when I deal with it really well.”
See more of Emma Watson in the August 2013 issue of Teen Vogue below.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

So, This Is Happening: Monica Lewinsky's Clothing, Lingerie Up for Auction

Monica Lewinsky's wardrobe and personal effects from her time spent as a White House intern are on the auction block. The raciest item is a black negligee, but there are also a few button-down shirts, blazers, an Ann Taylor jacket, navy blue DKNY pants, letters written on official White House stationery and old boxes of M&M's with the presidential seal. One item not on sale: that infamous blue dress. All of the items were originally obtained as part of the federal investigation into Monica's affair with President Bill Clinton.
If you thought this story was weird, get a load of this: Apparently some of the items, at some point, were given by Monica to her former lover Andy Bleiler as gifts, but now they are all owned by his ex-wife, Kate, according to ABC.

There are so many unanswered questions here that my head is spinning. Why would Monica give some of these items to her old boyfriend? Why would his ex-wife have possession of them now?

The entire lot is allegedly worth $25,000 and $50,000, and bidding ends on Thursday. ABC reported that Monica lives in the U.K. now and wasn't available to comment.
Photo: Getty Images

Street Chic: New York

street chic
Photo: Joslyn Blair

An oversized crop top and wedge boots an a touch of edge to a ladylike skirt.

Name: Willa

Top: Zara (shop similar: American Apparel)

Skirt: Vintage (shop similar: Asos)

Boots: Loeffler Randall (shop similar: Theory)

Bag: Baggu (shop similar: Urban Outfitters)

Sunglasses: Linda Farrow (shop similar: Super Sunglasses)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Playful Meets Polished at Sonia by Sonia Rykiel

Sonia by Sonia Rykiel's Resort '14
In New York, designer diffusion lines (not to mention countless collaborations) abound. In Paris, however, they’re few and far between, so it’s often difficult to get that Parisian whimsy at a contemporary price point. Sonia by Sonia Rykiel is the exception. Since 1989, Sonia by Sonia Rykiel (which, if you’re interested, was called Inscription for its first ten years) has evolved into much more than just a little-sister label—it’s developed an identity of its own while maintaining that distinct Rykiel esprit. The new Resort lineup offers cool basics such as nubby cardigan sweaters and pleated leather miniskirts, as well as playful ruffled denim shorts and striped intarsia pullovers featuring lips or tubes of rouge (both of which are favorite Rykiel motifs). Meanwhile, tailored fuchsia suits and feminine tank dresses gave the youthful gamine look more of a polished edge. At a recent showroom preview, Rykiel’s granddaughter, Lola Rykiel, was wearing a flirty A-line frock cut from the new collection’s stretchy scuba knit. It easily could’ve passed for Alaïa, but will sell for a fraction of the price.
Sonia by Sonia Rykiel’s Resort wares range from $120 to $695 and will be available at Kirna Zabete and

Ambitious Sonam now wants roles like Nawazuddin's

Ambitious Sonam now wants roles like Nawazuddin's
Actress Sonam Kapoor, whose latest film Raanjhanaa has set the cash registers ringing, now wants something as challenging as Nawazuddin Siddiqui's role in Bombay Talkies.

"I recently watched Bombay Talkies and Dibakar Banerjee's film in that is my favourite among the four (stories). The way the story was conveyed and it was performed so beautifully, I thought it must be so challenging for an actor to do something like that," the 28-year-old said at an event held to promote short films.

"I love a challenge, so it would be great if I could do something like that," she added.

Bombay Talkies is an amalgamation of four short films by Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and Banerjee. Nawazuddin, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, had to learn a bit of Marathi for his part for the film. He attended workshops to perfect his accent.

Jay-Z Reveals “Magna Carta Holy Grail” Track List

jay-z magna carta holy grail

Jay-Z is getting ready to release his latest solo effort, “Magna Carta Holy Grail” in just a few days and the rapper and given fans a bit more information about what they can expect by revealing the track list.
Jay-Z doesn’t quite do things the way most artists do. He gave fans a few short weeks’ notice that he will be releasing a new album. And, he snagged a deal with Samsung that gives the company’s smart phone users the opportunity to hear the album a few days early through an app.
Keeping with that tradition of doing things a little differently, Jay-Z revealed the track list for his upcoming album by sending his fans on a scavenger hunt through Brooklyn. A member of the rapper’s team took to social media websites to lure fans to various locations promising a prize. What they found was a binder revealing the title names of each track on “Magna Carta Holy Grail.”
“Magna Carta Holy Grail” will be released on July 4. Check out the track list for Jay-Z upcoming album below.
1. “Picasso Baby”
2. “Heaven”
3. “Versus”
4. “Tom Ford”
5. “Beach Is Better”
6. “F–kWithMeYouKnowIGotIt”
7. “Oceans”
8. “F.U.T.W.”
9. “Part II (On The Run)”
10. “BBC”
11. “La Familia”
12. “Jay-Z Blue”
13. “Nickles & Dimes”

Best Fashion Design School

FashionTV Highlights The Top Design Schools In The World

Have you ever dreamed of becoming the next Alexander McQueen or Marc Jacobs? Or perhaps you’ve dreamed of showcasing your fashionable collections on the runways of New York, Paris or Milan? Want to study fashion but don’t know where you should go? FashionTV tells you exactly what you need to do to launch that fashion career!
If you are as infatuated with fashion as we are, you are probably familiar with major fashion designers like Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford and Dries Van Noten. Many fashion designers started off studying at a fashion design school to learn more about the profession. A fashion design school with a strong and broad curriculum will teach you how to take your fashion vision and dreams and translate them into a successful career -- after all, there’s more to fashion than just the clothes! Upon graduation, you'll most likely practice in a major fashion house to get some experience under your belt. FashionTV has compiled a list of the best and top fashion design schools all over the world that can teach you how to take your talent to the next level!

Central Saint Martins (London, England)

Central Saint Martins is one of the most influential fashion design schools in the world. Among its graduates you can find elite designers such as Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane, Zac Posen and Riccardo Tisci. Those are just a small handful of the notable designers who have studied there. Due to the fact that the institution is partially government-funded, British students have a better chance to study there. Apart from legendary scholars, Central Saint Martins is the only institute who’s runway shows are archived on This gives students a chance to have experienced designers scout for their ideas and give them a chance in the real world of fashion.
To Central Saint Martins Official Website click here

Parsons, The New School for Design (New York, USA)

Parsons, The New School for Design has a large success rate when it comes to their students entering the fashion industry upon graduation. Parsons collaborates with many retailers around the country in order to give their students the feel of the fashion world from the inside. Top fashion designers such as Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Tom Ford have all graduated from Parsons and managed to become well-known fashion leaders. Will you be the next Marc Jacobs?
To Parsons, The New School for Design official Website click here

Bunka Fashion College (Tokyo, Japan)

Until the 1960s, Bunka graduates have presented their collections only in Japan. Since then talented Japanese fashion designers such as Kenzo Takada and Yuji Yamamoto have conquered the stages of Paris and Milan. Nowadays the Bunka Institute is well-known for their avant-garde Japanese designs. If you’re fluent in Japanese and can manage to study without working part-time (part time jobs are not allowed while you are a student), Bunka Fashion College is the fashion design school for you!
To Bunka Fashion College Official Website click here

Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Antwerp, Belgium)

Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts hosts only a small collection of 140 talented students in this elite fashion design school. Due to a very serious curriculum and a massive work load, some students don't manage to graduate. Those who are dedicated, innovative and extremely talented complete the program with a better chance of getting their claim to fame in the fashion industry. The graduates of Antwerp Rayal Academy of Fine Arts range from Dries Van Noten to Walter Van Beirendonck. A fluent knowledge of Dutch is required to attend.
To Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts Official Website click here

Istituto Marangoni

If you find Domenico Dolce's designs inspiring and you would like to follow in his footsteps, Istituto Marangoni can be a good starting point. This top design school has campuses in three major fashion capital cities – Milan, London and Paris. With great scholars and work options, Istituto Marangoni may be among the fashion design institutes you consider.
To Istituto Marangoni Official Website click here

Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, USA)

Carolina Herrera, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors are among other high-profile fashion designers who have graduated from FIT. This well-known school in the center of New York City offers fashion design studies as well as courses in fashion marketing, visual arts and textile studies. If you are interested in learning the technical aspects of fashion as well as the design, FIT is a good match for you.
To Fashion Institute of Technology Official Website click here

London College of Fashion (London, UK)

Make up, styling and fashion journalism are a few of the unique courses London College of Fashion has to offer. Jimmy Choo is the only famous fashion designer who studied at this top design school. Will you be the next Jimmy Choo?
To London College of Fashion Official Website click here

Shenkar College of Engineering and Design (Ramat-Gan, Israel)

Although Shenkar is not a famous fashion design school compared to the ones mentioned above, it offers an incredible fashion design curriculum. Most professors teach in English so Hebrew is not an absolute necessity. Top designers like Alber Elbaz (Lanvin) are among the graduates of Shenkar. If you ever wondered who taught him the secrets of fashion, you may just find out in one of the classes offered at Shenkar.
To Shenkar College of Engineering and Design Official Website click here

This list of fashion schools are of course not the only ones out there! If you seriously want to pursue a career in fashion -- learning the ins and outs of the industry -- go for it! Pick a design school that works for you and watch as your dream translates into reality.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Chris Brown Accused of Assaulting Girl In Nightclub

11:20 AM PT
  Chris just scoffed at the allegation, tweeting, "I didn't do anything."

Chris Brown
has been accused of badly injuring a 24-year-old girl inside an Orange County nightclub Saturday night ... and the alleged victim says it was so violent she might need surgery.

Deanna Gines tells TMZ ... she was in the VIP section with Chris at Heat Ultra Lounge in Anaheim -- where he had just performed.  When the bar was about to close, she claims Chris shoved her to the ground.  Deanna tells us, the shove was deliberate and she fell hard on her knees.

Deanna tells us she filed a police report, and a rep for the Anaheim PD says a female did indeed file a report for assault inside the club, but the rep won't disclose the name. Cops are investigating. 

Deanna says she went to the hospital and doctors told her she had torn ligaments in her right knee. She's going to see another doc later this week and she says she's already been told she may have to go under the knife.

Chris Brown's rep, Nicole Perna, tells TMZ, "I'm unaware of the incident, as is Chris' lawyer and his entire team.  He was in a great mood after Powerhouse."  Perna adds, "None of this makes sense."


Perfect Makeup: 8 Super-Easy Steps for Looking Flawless--Fast!

flawless skin plan

Step 1: Hide Dark Circles

The first step of all: Apply a moisturizer with SPF to help concealer glide on smoothly.
Then use concealer only where you need it, like on undereye circles and blemishes, advises makeup artist Ana Marie Rizzieri, who created the look in these photos. Try a creamy formula, like Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, in a shade that matches your skin tone. “Choosing a shade lighter is a myth,” she says. “Too-white circles under your eyes look like you wore goggles while tanning.” Apply in little stripes with a pointed concealer brush. Then blend using your ring finger for the lightest touch, and don’t tug on delicate undereye areas, Rizzieri instructs.

Expert tip: To get at fine lines, use the point of your brush.

No glam squad needed! Follow our step-by-step guide for a makeup look that’s great on every face, every day. (It took our testers an average of four minutes, 38 seconds!)

flawless skin plan

Step 2: A Touch of Base

To get perfectly even skin the speedy way, use a foundation stick.
It’s easy and gives you plenty precise application. We like Bobbi Brown Foundation Stick . Try Rizzieri’s technique: Using the stick like a giant marker, draw thick lines down cheekbones, the sides of your nose and above brows, and blend with your fingers. Want to look a little more sun-kissed? Before blending, use a second stick that’s two or three shades darker in all the same places for a streak-free glow (it looks dark in the pictures, but we promise it melts right in). Mix both colors together over your face and down onto your neck using your fingers—the heat from your hands will warm up the foundation and help it glide.

Expert tip: Want lighter coverage? Rub moisturizer on your hands before you blend for a sheer, dewy finish. 

flawless skin plan

Step 3: Reassess and Perfect!

If a pesky zit or mark is still poking through, go back and hide it with an extra layer of concealer.
Use the same kind as in step one (it worked for Alice’s forehead scratch), or try a cover-up that contains salicylic acid, like Almay Clear Complexion Concealer, which helps shrink blemishes while it camouflages. Dab it onto problem areas with a pointed brush instead of slicking it on from the tube. Right on top of the blemish, “it’s not meant to be totally blended in,” says Rizzieri, but to avoid cakeyness, use your ring finger to pat its perimeter outward until smooth.

Expert tip: For staying power, apply powder over top with a puff to absorb oil and to keep cover-up from sliding off midday. 

flawless skin plan

Step 4: Now Blush!

Forget shading and sculpting cheekbones with a brush and powder, and try a cream blush instead for that glow-from-within effect.
Apply to the apples of your cheeks, as seen here. (The fast way to find yours: Smile!) Then blend the color up toward your temples with your fingers. Our pick: (Yves Saint Laurent Creme de Blush in No. 6 Rouge Passion. Bright, bold hues like the berry shade used on our model can look natural, but if you’re color-shy, build the intensity by gradually layering it on.

Expert tip: Gone overboard? Defuse a clownlike situation by applying a bit of foundation over top instead of washing it all off and starting from scratch. 

flawless skin plan

Step 5: Apply Shimmery Eye Base

For pro-looking eye makeup in no time, apply a wash of sheer, shimmery cream shadow from lash lines to brow bones using your pointer finger.
Try Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow in Copper Canyon, which comes with all the shades you need to create this look. (Bonus: Shimmer helps hide stray eyebrow hairs if you don’t have time to tweeze!) If your skin is fair like our model’s, try a silvery white shade. For medium to dark skin tones, opt for a champagne color instead. To get an extra bright-eyed effect, dot the color onto the inner corners of your eyes too. Celebs use this trick on the red carpet all the time, Rizzieri says.

Expert tip: If your lids tend to be on the oilier side, use a primer all over them first to help shadow last. 

flawless skin plan

Step 6: Make ‘Em Pop

Next, use bronze and gold cream shadows (both are in that same Revlon palette) to give eyes more depth.
Apply the bronze shade in your creases with a flat shadow brush for more control, and use your fingers to smudge it down over the lids—avoiding the brow bones. There shouldn’t be any harsh lines or stripes of color, says Rizzieri; it should look blended and effortless. To make everything budge-proof (important with creamy formulas like these), set the cream with a matching powder eyeshadow, or dust a colorless translucent powder on top (like the kind used in step three). Then, to make eyes look even bigger, pat some gold cream shadow onto the centers of your lids and run a little along your lower lash lines with your finger or a small brush.

Expert tip: Using gold under eyes looks luminous; darker shades can draw attention to undereye circles. 


flawless skin plan

Step 7: Add Some Definition

For more intensity, rim your upper lash lines with a brown liner pencil and smudge it upward with your shadow brush.
Then set with the same powder eyeshadow used in the previous step. Finish off with two coats of mascara, like Smashbox Hyperlash Mascara, on top and bottom—focusing on the outer lashes with the top of the wand. If your brows aren’t as full as our model’s, lightly fill in any gaps with a pencil and use a disposable mascara wand to brush the hairs up.

Expert tip: To give eyes an even bigger boost, use an eyelash curler before you apply mascara. Start as close to the roots of your lashes as possible and gently pulse the curler forward bit by bit to the ends. 

flawless skin plan

Step 8: Get Lush-Looking Lips

If your lips are dry or at all chapped, gently buff with a damp washcloth and apply lip balm.
Let it sink in well, and blot with a tissue if it feels slippery. Using a strawberry-color lipstick, like Maybelline New York ColorSensational Lipstick in Very Cherry, straight from the tube, apply it to the center of your mouth (make a kissy face!), where color tends to wear off first, says Rizzieri. Blend the lipstick out over your lips, patting the color on with your fingertip to help it last. “This gives you that fresh, just-ate-a-popsicle look,” she says. To amp up things for night, add a layer of gloss for extra shine.

Expert tip: Run a piece of ice over your lips before slicking on gloss to help color last all day and prevent it from bleeding. Ta-da, you’re done!

Friday, 21 June 2013

Maria Sharapova Is The Sweetest Thing

Romeo Beckham Stars in Burberry Campaign

Romeo Beckham

The apple definitely doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Beckham family. 10-year-old Romeo Beckham is a mini David Beckham and has his mother’s fashion sense. Romeo Beckham is using those genes as one of Burberry’s newest and youngest campaign models. Little Beckham is featured in Burberry’s spring/summer 2013 campaign. He models alongside the popular model Cara Delevingne. Looks like this Beckham family member is making a path of his own.

Photos by:


Sunday, 16 June 2013

How Memory Works: 10 Things Most People Get Wrong

Post image for How Memory Works: 10 Things Most People Get Wrong
"If we remembered everything we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing." ~William James
It's often said that a person is the sum of their memories. Your experience is what makes you who you are.
Despite this, memory is generally poorly understood, which is why many people say they have 'bad memories'. That's partly because the analogies we have to hand—like that of computer memory—are not helpful. Human memory is vastly more complicated and quirky than the memory residing in our laptops, tablets or phones.
Here is my 10-point guide to the psychology of memory (it is based on an excellent review chapter by the distinguished UCLA memory expert, Professor Robert A. Bjork)

1. Memory does not decay

Everyone has experienced the frustration of not being able to recall a fact from memory. It could be someone's name, the French for 'town hall' or where the car is parked.
So it seems obvious that memories decay, like fruit going off. But the research tends not to support this view. Instead many researchers think that in fact memory has a limitless capacity. Everything is stored in there but, without rehearsal, memories become harder to access. This means it's not the memory that's 'going off' it's the ability to retrieve it.
But what on earth is the point of a brain that remembers everything but can't recall most of it? Here's what:

2. Forgetting helps you learn

The idea that forgetting helps you learn seems counter-intuitive, but think of it this way: imagine if you created a brain that could remember and recall everything. When this amazing brain was trying to remember where it parked the car, it would immediately bring to mind all the car parks it had ever seen, then it would have to sort through the lot.
Obviously the only one that's of interest is the most recent. And this is generally true of most of our memories. Recent events are usually much more important than ones that happened a long time ago.
To make your super-brain quicker and more useful in the real world you'd have to build in some system for discounting old, useless info. In fact, of course, we all have one of these super-brains with a discounting system: we call it 'forgetting'.
That's why forgetting helps you learn: as less relevant information becomes inaccessible, we are naturally left with the information that is most important to our daily survival.

3. 'Lost' memories can live again

There's another side to the fact that memories do not decay. That's the idea that although memories may become less accessible, they can be revived.
Even things that you have long been unable to recall are still there, waiting to be woken. Experiments have shown that even information that has long become inaccessible can still be revived. Indeed it is then re-learned more quickly than new information.
This is like the fact that you never forget how to ride a bike, but it doesn't just apply to motor skills, it also applies to memories.

4. Recalling memories alters them

Although it's a fundamental of memory, the idea that recall alters memories seems intuitively wrong. How can recalling a memory change it?
Well, just by recalling a memory, it becomes stronger in comparison to other memories. Let's run this through an example. Say you think back to one particular birthday from childhood and you recall getting a Lego spaceship. Each time you recall that fact, the other things you got for your birthday that day become weaker in comparison.
The process of recall, then, is actually actively constructing the past, or at least the parts of your past that you can remember.
This is only the beginning though. False memories can potentially be created by this process of falsely recalling the past. Indeed, psychologists have experimentally implanted false memories.
This raises the fascinating idea that effectively we create ourselves by choosing which memories to recall.

5. Memory is unstable

The fact that the simple act of recall changes memory means that it is relatively unstable. But people tend to think that memory is relatively stable: we forget that we forgot and so we think we won't forget in the future what we now know.
What this means is that students, in particular, vastly underestimate how much effort will be required to commit material to memory. And they're not the only ones. This leads to...

6. The foresight bias

Everyone must have experienced this. You have an idea that is so great you think it's impossible you'll ever forget it. So you don't bother writing it down. Within ten minutes you've forgotten it and it never comes back.
We see the same thing in the lab. In one study by Koriat and Bjork (2005) people learned pairs of words like 'light-lamp', then are asked to estimate how likely it is they'll be able to answer 'lamp' when later given the prompt 'light'. They are massively over-confident and the reason is this foresight bias. When they get the word 'light' later all kinds of other things come to mind like 'bulb' or 'shade' and the correct answer isn't nearly as easy to recall as they predicted.

7. When recall is easy, learning is low

We feel clever when we recall something instantly and stupid when it takes ages. But in terms of learning, we should feel the exact reverse. When something comes to mind quickly, i.e. we do no work to recall it, no learning occurs. When we have to work hard to bring it to consciousness, something cool happens: we learn.
When people's memories are tested, the more work they have done to construct, or re-construct, the target memory, the stronger the memory eventually becomes. This is why proper learning techniques always involve testing, because just staring at the information isn't good enough: learning needs effortful recall.

8. Learning depends heavily on context

Have you ever noticed that when you learn something in one context, like the classroom, it becomes difficult to recall when that context changes?
This is because learning depends heavily on how and where you do it: it depends on who is there, what is around you and how you learn.
It turns out that in the long-term people learn information best when they are exposed to it in different ways or different contexts. When learning is highly context-dependent, it doesn't transfer well or stick as well over the years.
I had a friend at University who swore that standing on a chair or up against a wall helped him to revise. I used to laugh at him but there was method in his madness.

9. Memory, reloaded

If you want to learn to play tennis, is it better to spend one week learning to serve, the next week the forehand, the week after the backhand, and so on? Or should you mix it all up with serves, forehands and backhands every day?
It turns out that for long-term retention, memories are more easily recalled if learning is mixed up. This is just as true for both motor learning, like tennis, as it is for declarative memory, like what's the capital of Venezuela (to save you googling: it's Caracas).
The trouble is that learning like this is worse to start off with. If you practice your serve then quickly switch to the forehand, you 'forget' how to serve. So you feel things are going worse than if you just practice your serve over-and-over again. But, in the long-run this kind of mix-and-match learning works best.
One explanation for why this works is called the 'reloading hypothesis'. Each time we switch tasks we have to 'reload' the memory. This process of reloading strengthens the learning.

10. Learning is under your control

The practical upshot of these facts about memory is that we often underestimate how much control we have over our own memory.
For example, people tend to think that some things are, by their nature, harder to learn, and so they give up. However, techniques like using different contexts, switching between tasks and strenuous reconstruction of memories can all help boost retention.
People also tend to think that the past is fixed and gone; it can't be changed. But how we recall the past and think about it can be changed. Recalling memories in different ways can help us re-interpret the past and set us off on a different path in the future. For example, studies have shown that people can crowd out painful negative memories by focusing on more positive ones (Levy & Anderson, 2008).
All in all, our memory isn't as poor as we might imagine. It may not work like a computer, but that's what makes it all the more fascinating to understand and experience.
Image credit: kozumel
light widescreen tablet PC with dependable 32GB flash memory capacity might be a useful memory tool.


Saturday, 15 June 2013

How Memory Works: 20 Psychological Insight

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Find out how memory twists, pops, distorts, persists and decays, along with the odd tip on how to improve it.
"You think you have a memory; but it has you!" —John Irving.
Irving's quote nicely captures our hunch that we are slaves to our memories. Will I recall someone's name? What moment from my past will come back to delight, perplex or daunt me? And at other times we ask ourselves why we seem unable to forget.
These uncertainties prompt many people to say their memory is awful, a comment distinguished memory researcher Professor Alan Baddeley hears all the time. But be fair, he argues:
"I have a good memory and would argue, despite its occasionally embarrassing fallibility, that both my memory and yours exceed that of the best computer in terms of capacity, flexibility, and durability." (Baddeley, 1999)
At times it may not feel like it and that's partly because human memory follows its own rules, not the ones we imagine or prefer. To help us use our memories more effectively we need a better understanding of how it really works so that, hopefully, we can forgive its eccentricities.
Here are 20 of my favourite articles on the mysteries of memory, culled from PsyBlog's archives:
  1. How Memory Works: 10 Things Most People Get Wrong - "If we remembered everything we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing." —William James
  2. Why People’s Names Are So Hard to Remember - Why people's names are more difficult to remember than their jobs, hobbies or home towns.
  3. How Memories are Distorted and Invented: Misattribution - One evening in 1975 an unsuspecting Australian psychologist, Donald M. Thomson, walked into a television studio to discuss the psychology of eyewitness testimony, little did he know...
  4. Memory Improved 20% by Nature Walk - Short-term memory is improved 20% by walking in nature, or even just by looking at an image of a natural scene.
  5. Absent-Mindedness: A Blessing in Disguise? - The benefits of forgetting.
  6. Mind Pops: Memories That Come From Nowhere  - Cheese grater. Why do odd images suddenly pop into your head for no reason?
  7. How Quickly We Forget: The Transience of Memory - How recall fades over time.
  8. Reconstructing the Past: How Recalling Memories Alters Them - Experiment shows both the enhancing and distorting effects of recall on the original memories.
  9. Can Doodling Improve Memory and Concentration? - Doodling may be more than just a pleasant waste of time and paper.
  10. On the Tip-of-the-Tongue: Blocked Memories - College students have one or two 'tip-of-the-tongue' moments a week, while older adults have between two to four per week.
  11. Six Memory Myths - Can flashbulb memories be distorted? Some of the most widespread beliefs about memory are plain wrong.
  12. Memory Improved By Saying Words Aloud - Memory can be improved by vocalising or sub-vocalising words.
  13. Infant Memory Works From Very Early - Some argue it's impossible for us to remember anything much from before around two to four years of age—but is that true?
  14. Memories Are Made of This - Study records the activation of human brain cells deep inside the living brain as memories are formed and recalled.
  15. Memory Enhanced by a Simple Break After Reading - If you find it difficult to remember what you've read, try giving the memory time to consolidate.
  16. The Persistence of Memory - Being unable to forget is a double-edged sword.
  17. 7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Memory Without Any Training - Boost your memory by writing about your problems, predicting your performance and more...
  18. How the Consistency Bias Warps Our Personal and Political Memories - What were your political views a decade ago? How good was your relationship last year? Studies show we often assume things haven't changed, when in fact they have.
  19. The Temporal Doppler Effect: Why The Future Feels Closer Than The Past - Like the sound of a passing ambulance siren, our perception of time distorts as it shoots by.
  20. Implanting False Memories: Lost in the Mall & Paul Ingram - "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, or whatever it is that you think you remember?" -- Elizabeth Loftus

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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

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Every thing here for positive impact in your  life.
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