Move Over Henry Higgins!


By Prof. Grey

Just think how much easier it would have been for Henry Higgins to teach Eliza Doolittle how to speak properly in “My Fair Lady”, if only he had used cats! No, I haven't been nipping too much catnip, though some may think some humans have. Cats rule, they've been the center of the social cultural environment since the sphinx. Now their cuteness, expressiveness and mystery are finally being put to the test. Can our species who've survived over the centuries teach humans a thing or to? If you answered yes, you're right on! If no...well, you're behind the times. After all, we are the superior intelligence and it's our destiny to educate humans, so they can communicate on a global basis. 

Just ask the co-founder of the “Memrisewebsite , Ed Cooke. Just to recap a bit, Ed Cooke is the grandmaster to memory just as Gary Kasparov is to Chess. But, he wasn't born with this exceptional ability to remember things – no, he worked hard on it. His methods have a twist, that learning anything should be fun, not boring. The central core of Memrise is language, but gosh, there's also math and science and much more! . So what has that got to do with cats? Well, Memrise uses visual clues, not dusty old text books. So Cooke decided to launch CatAcademy” and, as the name implies, we cats are your teachers. 

According to Cook, and I quote: “At first glance, CatAcademy seems like a bizarre combination of Internet cats and hardcore science – the two, however, are not so far apart. Humor is one of mankind’s most fundamental characteristics. We learn to laugh before we learn to speak. Laughter is memorable. It enhances our attention and relaxes us, but until now there has never been an education tool that actually makes people laugh. With CatAcademy, we took the techniques we used to teach a million people more than a hundred million words on Memrise, and combined that with the cutest and silliest content that we could devise.” 

 So, you may ask, why cats? Believe it or not, of all the different kinds of “mems”, or visual mnemonics, that were the best at helping people learn quickly and have fun in the process, it seems that cats were the most effective. And it's not just all hot internet hype, there are scientific findings that point to the fact that cuteness improves cognitive function. One such study was conducted at the Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences at Hiroshima University. Their findings? “… participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images, kittens and puppies.” This was interpreted as “the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.” 

 So be prepared to get Cat-a-fied. We are the new teachers of the world. Pretty cool, huh?

 Ahhh...let's start a little English “mem” slang. Commander Zorro has kindly contributed his versions of the phrases, “laid back”
and “chill out”.

Maybe he's a little too “laid back”? I won't even comment on “chill out"! What do you think?


Prof Grey....meming off!

No comments:

Post a Comment