How to Use Your Mind
How to Use Your Mind
A Psychology of Study: Being a Manual for the Use of Students
and Teachers in the Administration of Supervised Study
by Harry D. Kitson
How to use Your Mind by Harry D. Kitson, PH.D.
is a very useful handbook for both teachers and students. It explores the basics of comprehension and memorization and shows new applications of memory in learning. The book shows simple easy-to-follow steps to achieve mental development. How to use Your Mind is an excellent manual for use by students and teachers in the management of supervised study.
I. INTELLECTUAL PROBLEMS OF THE COLLEGE FRESHMAN
Number. Variety. Lecture Method. Note Taking. Amount of Library Work.
High Quality Demanded. Necessity for Making Schedule. A College Course
Consists in the Formation of Habits. Requires Active Effort on Part of
Student. Importance of Good Form.
II. NOTE TAKING
Uses of Notes. LECTURE NOTES--Avoid Verbatim Reports. Maintain Attitude
of Mental Activity. Seek Outline Chiefly. Use Notes in Preparing Next
Lesson. READING NOTES--Summarize Rather Than Copy. Read With Questions
in Mind. How to Read. How to Make Bibliographies. LABORATORY
NOTES--Content. Form. Miscellaneous Hints.
III. BRAIN ACTION DURING STUDY
The Organ of Mind. Gross Structure. Microscopic Structure. The Neurone.
The Nervous Impulse. The Synapse. Properties of Nervous Tissue
--Impressibility, Conductivity, Modifiability. Pathways Used in
Study--Sensory, Motor, Association. Study is a Process of Making
Pathways in Brain.
IV. FORMATION OF STUDY-HABITS
Definition of Habit. Examples. Inevitableness of Habits in Brain and
Nervous System. How to Insure Useful Habits--Choose What Shall Enter;
Choose Mode of Entrance; Choose Mode of Egress; Go Slowly at First;
Observe Four Maxims. Advantages and Disadvantages of Habit. Ethical
V. ACTIVE IMAGINATION
Nature of the Image. Its Use in Imagination. Necessity for Number,
Variety, Sharpness. Source of "Imaginative" Productions. Method of
Developing Active Imaginative Powers: Cultivate Images in Great
Number, Variety, Sharpness; Actively Combine the Elements of Past
VI. FIRST AIDS TO MEMORY--IMPRESSION
Four Phases. Conditions of Impression: Care, Clearness, Choice of
Favorable Sense Avenue, Repetition, Overlearning, Primacy, Distribution
of Repetitions, (Inferences Bearing Upon Theme-writing), "Whole" vs.
"Part" Method, "Rote" vs. "logical" Method, Intention.
VII. SECOND AIDS TO MEMORY--RETENTION, RECALL AND RECOGNITION
Retention. Recall. Recall Contrasted With Impression. Practise Recall
in Impression. Recognition. Advantages of Review. Memory Works
According to Law. Possibility of Improvement. Connection With Other
VIII. CONCENTRATION OF ATTENTION
Importance in Mental Life. Analysis of Concrete Attentive State.
Cross-section of Mental Stream. Focal Object, Clear; Marginal Objects,
Dim. Fluctuation. Ease of Concentration Requires (1) Removal of All
Marginal Distractions Possible, (2) Ignoring Others. Conditions
Favorable for Concentration. Relation to Other Mental Processes.
IX. HOW WE REASON
Reasoning Contrasted with Simpler Mental Operations. Illustrated by
Method of Studying Geometry. Analysis of Reasoning Act: Recognition of
Problem, Efforts to Solve It, Solution. Study in Problems. Requirements
for Effective Reasoning: Many Ideas, Accessible, Clear. How to Clarify
Ideas: Define, Classify. Relation Between Habit and Reasoning. Summary.
X. EXPRESSION AS AN AID IN STUDY
Expression an Inevitable Accompaniment of Nervous Activity. Extent of
Expressive Movements. Relation Between Ideas and Expressive Acts.
Ethical Considerations. Methods of Expression Chiefly Used in Study:
Speech, Writing, Drawing. Effects of Expression: (1) On Brain, (2) On
Ideas. Hints on Development of Freedom of Expression.
XI. HOW TO BECOME INTERESTED IN A SUBJECT
Nature of Interest. Intellectual Interests Gained Through Experience.
Many Possible Fields of Interest. Laws of Interest.
XII. THE PLATEAU OF DESPOND
Measurement of Mental Progress. Analysis of the "Learning Curve."
Irregularity. Rapid Progress at Beginning. The Plateau. Causes.
XIII. MENTAL SECOND-WIND
Description: (1) Physical, (2) Mental. Hidden Sources of Energy.
Retarding Effect of Fatigue. Analysis of Fatigue. How to Reduce
Fatigue in Study.
Purposes. Continuous Effort and Cramming. Effective Methods of
Reviewing. Immediate Preparation for an Examination Conduct in
Examination-room. Attitude of Activity. Attitude of Confidence.
XV. BODILY CONDITIONS FOB EFFECTIVE STUDY
FOOD: Quantity, Quality, Surroundings. SLEEP: Amount, Conditions,
Avoidance of Insomnia. EXERCISE: Regularity, Emphasis.
SUGGESTIONS FOB FURTHER READING
INTELLECTUAL PROBLEMS OF THE COLLEGE FRESHMAN
In entering upon a college course you are taking a step that may completely revolutionize your life. You are facing new situations vastly different from any you have previously met. They are also of great variety, such as finding a place to eat and sleep, regulating your own finances, inaugurating a new social life, forming new friendships, and developing in body and mind.
The problems connected with mental development will engage your chief attention. You are now going to use your mind more actively than ever before and should survey some of the intellectual difficulties before plunging into the fight.
Perhaps the first difficulty you will encounter is the substitution of the lecture for the class recitation to which you were accustomed in high school. This substitution requires that you develop a new technique of learning, for the mental processes involved in an oral recitation are different from those used in listening to a lecture.
The lecture system implies that the lecturer has a fund of knowledge about a certain field and has organized this knowledge in a form that is not duplicated in the literature of the subject. The manner of presentation, then, is unique and is the only means of securing the knowledge in just that form.
As soon as the words have left the mouth of the lecturer they cease to be accessible to you. Such conditions require a unique mental attitude and unique mental habits. You will be obliged, in the first place, to maintain sustained attention over long periods of time. The situation is not like that in reading, in which a temporary lapse of attention may be remedied by turning back and
In listening to a lecture, you are obliged to catch the words "on the fly." Accordingly you must develop new habits of paying attention. You will also need to develop a new technic for memorizing, especially for memorizing things heard. As a partial aid in this, and also for purposes of organizing material received in lectures, you will need to develop ability to take notes. This is a process with which you have heretofore had little to do. It is a most important phase of college life, however, and will repay earnest study.
Another characteristic of college study is the vast amount of reading required. Instead of using a single text-book for each course, you may use several. They may cover great historical periods and represent the ideas of many men. In view of the amount of reading assigned, you will also be obliged to learn to read faster. No longer will you have time to dawdle sleepily through the pages of easy texts; you will have to cover perhaps fifty or a hundred pages of knotty reading every day.
Accordingly you must learn to handle books expeditiously and to comprehend quickly. In fact, economy must be your watchword throughout. A German lesson in high school may cover thirty or forty lines a day, requiring an hour's preparation. A German assignment in college, however, may cover four or five or a dozen pages, requiring hard work for two or three hours.