Scientists know what role the parts of our brain participate in, via brain scans and studies of people and animals with partially-malfunctioning brains.
- Amygdala - Stores emotionally-charged memories and reacts when you re-enter a dangerous situation for the second or third time.
- Basal Ganglia - Stores skills and habits that we've repeated many, many times such as driving our car, using a spoon, or exercising in the morning. Pros: Anything in procedural memory can be done on auto-pilot and it's hard to forget. Cons: It's hard to forget!
- Hippocampus - Forms and stores long-term semantic memory, like principles, techniques, and tactical patterns. The longer we know these, the less likely the hippo's involved. It also stores visual-spatial memories, no matter how long we know them.
- Frontal Cortex - Stores long-term semantic memory. If we know something well, and we know it for months or years, the knowledge will transfer completely from the hippocampus and into the frontal lobes.
What does this mean to me?
- The secret to mastery is not in learning to play chess on auto-pilot.
- The secret to mastery is not studying drawing of 3d boards.
- The secret to mastery is not how many positions we can calculate.