One of the challenges or obstacles to making a good deduction, involves capturing details as well as storing the information in your short term memory. This problem can become compounded when we are pressed. But if we want to find a method to improve our deduction skills, we need ways to actively gather and store the information we are trying to make deductions about.**
Now, improving our short term memory is something that goes way beyond the scope of this article. But I have found that the tips presented here, improve the processing of the information and does improve the mechanism of short term memory. To illustrate, imagine a computer. It has a memory where information is stored. If you don't organize the files you store, retrieving them may take longer than if you have a systematic approach. Usually this is done with folders, subfolders, and content that relates to that specific folder inside that folder. Inside that content, the information should be organized in such a way that you can always find it again.
These tips are like the main folders and subfolders in your computer. They don't change the amount of memory you have, they simply improve the process for storing information. The things you store should be easily accessible and should help us retrieve the information we want quicker. In turn, this should help us improve deduction skills. Let's get started.
TIP 1 - COLOR
From a distance, when you see something, you can't really focus on a lot of details. For example, if you are approaching a mountain, you can't see any of the shrubs or animals that reside on that mountain. All you can see is the general shape and size of this giant piece of landscape. It is only when you get close enough that you can examine those other elements.
What does this teach us? We look at the broad before we look at the details. Now if you are color blind, this would be the shade or tint of the shirt, blouse, skirt, shorts, etc...that they are wearing. The reason that we should focus on color first is because it's one of the most noticeable things we encounter when we approach someone. Additionally, forcing your brain to focus on and catalog what you see, is an invaluable tool for slowing down your thinking. This is the secret sauce of deductions.
TIP 2 - COUNT
To ensure that you don't begin rushing to conclusions based on the things that you see, the idea of slowing down your thinking is always important. That's why this tip shouldn't be overlooked. Let's say that you have just written a novel. Let's pretend that you wrote it and published it without ever editing anything. Do you think the book would be worthy of readership? Would there be punctuation errors, fragments, ideas not fully explored?
Chances are, editing would be required, no matter how good a writer you are. Why is that? Our brains are extremely quick at reaching conclusions. Our tactile skills can't keep up with how fast our brain works. When we edit things when writing, we are trying to focus on details that may have been missed. Likewise, by counting the things we see on a person, we are focusing our brain on the details that we may have missed because our brain registered information that our conscious mind missed.
Count things like bracelets, watches, rings, earrings, necklaces, glasses, etc... Basically, count anything that the person is wearing other than their top, bottom, and shoes.
TIP 3 - CHARACTER
After you have seen the colors the person is wearing and counted their articles, consider the person's character. What is character? Here, character is meant to mean the person as a whole. This includes things like their age, gender, skin coloration, ethnicity, culture, weight, gate, etc... The things that you see that make up a person is their character. How does the person speak? How does the person walk? How does the person smell? These are the types of questions you should be asking yourself.
For example, let's say you encounter a man that is caucasian, yet his skin is sunburned and dark. This is suggestive that he has possibly spent some time in the sun. Or let's say that you notice that the person has a Welsh accent. This should give you an idea of where they are from.
Capturing the character of someone is important. This is the information that you will need to construct a deduction on someone. Without understanding or observing basic things that make a person who they are, you can't conceptualize where they have been and what they are up to.
TIP 4 - CONCEPTUALIZE
This is the stage of deduction. This is where you need to use your imagination to explore how all of the information that you have gathered fits into a nice package. Before you begin that process however, I should warn you of something. One of the easiest things to do is to over-reach your deductions. That is, you create stories that move past your observations. There are things that you can gather from a transitory observation and there are things that you cannot.
For example, let's say that I have observed that someone is wearing glasses. Unless, I know what to look for in the lenses, how could I know if the person is nearsighted or farsighted? Also, what if the person doesn't have vision issues? What if they wear glasses for style points? The resolution of the deduction needs to be weighted by other points of data. For example, maybe the person takes off their glasses to clean them, then squint at a faraway object. This would be suggestive that they are nearsighted.
Without that other piece of data, you would have to answer some of these other questions. Can you see concave or convex lenses at a glance? Can you tell the lense shape - cylindrical, compound, spherical? I guess, I mean that when we decide to do a deduction, we might not be able to reach an accurate conclusion when our knowledge is limited in a certain field.
Let's get back to the point. Conceptualization requires you to spend time thinking about what you have seen, heard, smelled, etc... And I mean really thinking. This type of thinking is like a log book where all the information has been stored. Now you have to analyze the data and figure out how it fits. Ask questions like, "If I was this person why would I....?" or "Where did that smell come from?"
Regardless of what you do to reach a conclusion/make a deduction, you need to use your imagination and linger on the possibilities.
The tips presented here, should improve the process of storage and retrieval of short term memory but not the size/length of it. If you are interested in reading studies about improving short term memory, let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can do some research to include on the site for future posts.