Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Can Puppetry With Musical Choral Speech Serve as a Tool to Enhance Memory and Intelligence?"

Today, there are many brain exercise programs, and most expect the client to have the motivation and interest to stay with a new, often tedious program. Many are random exercises without a specific goal in mind, and are no more than mere visual memory improvement of some sort. The various types of memory are not completely pre tested or delineated, and if they do, they are with the pretests primarily visual in nature and deliberately made difficult so the applicant performs poorly.

What is obviously missing from this paradigm is the crucial "listening-auditory memory" facet. Researchers have long written that auditory memory must couple with visual memory for comprehension to ensue. But how to teach auditory memory and the various subcategories of it?

My program has always used recognized nationally standardized cognitive skills tests. We did pretests and posttests to see and compare the improvement after twenty-four hours of intensive cognitive skills brain-skill practice. The results always showed improvement, and yet, every person's profile was different; pre- to posttest. That was most interesting to me and the client, and remains to be so, even today.

None of us have perfect profiles, although we would like to think that we do have them.

To teach rapid auditory-visual memory, and to make the training palatable and exciting, we used a family of ventriloquist puppets, speaking in tonal sequences.

Puppet characters have the following qualities: 1) they offer a non-threatening, stress free presence. The student remains in an abstract "one-up" position. Puppets do not challenge or intimidate you.

2) Their messages are rapidly understood. For example, they are used in political cartoons and comic strips.

3) With the recent surge of ventriloquist puppets as entertainment (America's Got Talent), they are now, and have been accepted for a long time, as a sophisticated arts medium for adults (remember Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy? and puppetry in the Czech Republic and India?).

Now, we can learn from them, too. They can improve our cognitive skills, which include visual and auditory memories. And, if puppet characters do give us "guff," we really do not mind!

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