Membar software was originally developed as a language learning tool, however the real beauty of Membar is the ability for users to learn something new, whilst spending their time doing something else on their computers, laptops or Windows tablets.
The four key elements of Membar are as follows:
- Dual memory encoding promoting stronger memory formation
- Continuous exercising of peripheral vision
- Active encouragement of the release of acetylcholine in the brain
- Learning using simple but proven repetition techniques
Dual memory encoding
The Membar software bar can be placed either at the top or the bottom of the screen. As you carry out your normal daily tasks, you tend to focus your central vision towards the central area of the screen. This obviously depends on what you are working on. For example, your central vision will move towards the top of the screen when you are typing in a URL into a web browser, or it may switch to the bottom of the screen when you are looking to click on a particular icon on your Windows task-bar. However generally speaking a large percentage of your time will be spent focusing on the central area of the screen. If you are reading this very page on a computer screen or laptop, your eyes are focusing on the words as you read them. These words are inside your “central vision” and have direct focus. Because the Membar software bar sits outside of central vision, you will not be directly focusing on it. The Membar will be predominantly visible in your peripheral vision.
In the modern world, our daily visual requirements tend to be mainly for close, sharp, central vision. We spend an increasing number of hours each day staring at computer screens and televisions, smart-phones and tablets. This not only makes us almost entirely dependent on central vision for our career, amusement and learning, but it changes our lifestyle and the way our brain works. Thousands of years ago, humans would rely heavily on peripheral vision to survive. It would allow people to quickly identify moving prey, or similarly react to any potential dangers.
There are differences in how the brain processes information from different areas of vision. This can be easily demonstrated by viewing the following optical illusion image. Everything your brain captures in central vision will appear motionless, whilst everything captured in peripheral vision will appear to move. As you slowly focus your central vision over the different parts of the image, you will see that the entire image is in fact stationary. That’s right, the entire image is static! It simply proves that your brain processes visual information differently, depending on how the visual information is captured.
Exercising your peripheral vision
When you first start to use Membar, you may find that the words displayed along the bar simply appear as a blur unless you directly focus on them. Your brain will be fully aware that something is moving in your peripheral vision, as the words move from one side to the other. The longer you have the bar running, the more information from peripheral vision will be processed. The words will take longer to process than if they were stared at directly, but nonetheless they are still being processed.
You will find yourself looking up at the Membar more frequently when you first begin using it. This is not an issue, and is in fact a good thing, because by also occasionally focusing directly on the membar, you are in fact performing dual-memory encoding. A memory is being created both from peripheral AND central vision, promoting stronger memory formation.
As time passes, you will strengthen your peripheral vision and will find that you need to gaze up at the membar less frequently, leaving you time to perform other tasks on your PC, whilst your peripheral vision is learning new information. As the perihperhal vision is excersied and strenghtened, the brain will release increased amounts of Acetylcholine
Acetylcholine is an organic chemical which is released by motor neurons in the nervous system, in order to activate muscles. As a neuro-modulator, acetylcholine helps sustain a person’s attention by enhancing sensory perception. It also promotes the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep.
There are high concentrations of acetylcholine “pathways” through the hippocampus and cortex of the brain. These areas of the brain are associated with memory, attention, and learning. Some neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease involve damage to the acetylcholine-producing cells in the brain. Scientists believe that the resulting reduction in acetylcholine production is believed to contribute to memory impairment. It is therefore seen as beneficial to promote the continued release of acetylcholine in the brain.
Scientists have discovered that regularly exercising your peripheral vision can reinvigorate the release of acetylcholine in your brain. Information gained from peripheral vision stimulates the hippo campus, which in turn releases acetylcholine.
Learning using repetition
“Repetitio mater studiorum est.” – Repetition is the mother of all learning
The core principal of membar is to loop a series of information you wish to commit to memory. Membar was primarily used for language learning, allowing a user to build their vocabulary in their language of choice. During a typical 8-hour working day, you may have 30 word-pairs moving across the bar, on a constant loop. During those 8 hours, your peripheral vision may be exposed to each of those word pairs more than 100 times!
If you do not speak a word of French, you may still be fully aware of the word Bonjour, which means Hello. You know the word even though you do not speak a word of French (well, technically you do speak a word of French if you know Bonjour!) but that is because you have been exposed to this word on numerous occasions throughout your life. The word itself has been repeatedly sent to your brain, and the brain has now formed a long-term memory.
The membar will allow you do form dual-memories, whilst exposing both peripheral (and occasionally central) vision, and those words will be repeated throughout the day.
You should remember however, that whilst the membar was developed originally for language learning, you can use the software for absolutely anything you can think of.
For example, you may wish to memorize the chemical elements and associated atomic number, of the chemicals in the periodic table. You might want to memorize the capital city’s of all the countries of Europe. You may decide that you want to learn all of the key historical dates of the 20th century. The possibilities are endless, and the limitations are unbound.
You are able to create word pairs (Native language : New Language) which will appear along the bar, placed either at the top or the bottom of your screen (outside of your normal central vision) – This serves a triple purpose:
1. The words will be viewed in peripheral vision (85%-95%)
2. The words will also be viewed in central vision (5%-15%)
3. Repetition – Words are on a constant rotation, which helps create long-term memories.
Learn a language in 10 months
If you learn 25 new words a day (Mon-Fri), that equates to around 500 new words per month. Studies show that for most languages, 5000 words constitute the active vocabulary of a native speaker without higher education. By knowing 5000 words in a language, you will effectively be able to converse with someone in their language with relative comfort. Therefore you could set yourself a challenge of effectively learning a new language in 10 months.
We should of course make it abundantly clear that simply memorizing words will not be enough to learn a new language. You still need to learn the correct rules and grammar of the language. Without this, your language skills will be extremely poor. Therefore Membar should be used as a tool to help increase your vocabulary, as opposed to a single language learning solution. There are numerous tools that will assist with language learning and the rules associated with the language.
The following links are some that we recommend, in some of the more popular languages:
If you need to brush up on your word types (parts of speech) then here is a great link: Parts of Speech