Studying the effect of seretoin on memory – with #memrise and #9gag


So, those cognitive scientists from memrise successfully made me addicted to their application.

Joke aside, my memory is really bad and I have been using flashcard to study Japanese and German for some years (intensively during my year in Bonn), tried with paper flash cards, Quizlet and FlashCardToGo in android.

With my limited knowledge but keen interest in cognitive science – Memrise is really seamless and game-changing for me. I am also creating this japanese course which based on Mr Children’s lyrics (trying to add context for those words!)

How’s my memory going – experiment with memrise and 9gag

Reading the great book The Shallows‘s chapter 9 today about formation of long term memory and effect of sereotin

(In 1983 Kandel, Schwartz & Richard Axel) To mimic the action of the modulating interneurons, the scientists injected serotonin into the culture. A single squirt of serotonin, replicating a single learning experience, triggered, as expected, a release of glutamate – producing the brief strengthening of the synapse that is characteristic of short-term memory. Five separate squirts of serotonin, in contrast, strengthened the existing synapse for days and also spurred the formation of new synaptic terminal-changes characteristic of long term memory.

If you are still reading:

What happens after repeated injections of serotonin is that the enzyme kinase A, along with another enzyme, called Map, moves from the neuron’s outer cytoplasm into its nuclesus. There, kinase A activates a protein called CREB-1, which in turn switches on a set of genes that synthesize the proteins the neuron needs to grow new synaptic terminals.

I dont understand very well, but I just think of a simple experiement, althought not very related actually, that I can do on myself.

Outlining an experiment with memrise and 9gag

-will I do better in memrise if I read 9gag during that?


  • I know it is not very scientific, but fun. (yes, seretoin ton doesn’t work that way, I just wanna know at least can I do better when I feel more relaxed)
  • my first experiment in cognitive science lol! before I go really into it.
  • brain is a very personal thing. genes as well. You need to measure personally, not being told
  • quite stressed recently for the examinations & projects
  • this make me feel less guilty when I read 9gag.
  • I need some excuses to spend time on my japanese
  • actually with or without this experiment I am doing the very same thing every day.

Experiment concerns

  • things to learn -> This JLPT N2 Memrise Community Edited Course because
    • I would really like to finish it
    • I have been learning japanese for quite a long time so there should not be any special trend
    • large enough and relative standard among courses
  • words to learn should be large to reduce side effects of
    • meme, audio
    • skip those really easy one / I already know (as usual )
  • to be scentific, I should be memorizing some poker numbers, but I am not into that…although that can still be cool
  • get more sleep regularly
  • ignore the first day as no recall session
  • using memrise as it is fun, small, easy to control and I am really memorsiing smomething in a efficient way
  • 9gag is something fun, actually something like listening music / aeriobic / deep breathing could be more interesting..


  • web version
  • Japanese Course


  • Starting from the end,

Phase 0

pattern: with 9gag -> without ->with, etc

  • 5min 9gag (too much to start, too less to stop)
  • 15~20min memrise
    • [recall] grow phase for ytd’s courses
    • [plant] plant a new course, 5 times i.e. 25 planted if nothing is skipped? – not very sure about its algo yet
  • 5min 9gag

Phase 1

No idea yet. may be 9gag-9gag-9gag-no-no, or 9gag- plan in memrise- 9gag, things like that


  • 30min around 11am
  • because I am too tired to do anything serious immediately after work


If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. be Taylorism

several possible metrics: – marks you get during recall phase – marks you get during grow phase

after 2 weeks, plot – [recall mark against 9gag when recall] recall better when relaxed? – [recall mark against 9gag when grow] grow better when relaxed?

Challenge accepted. just yet to start 😛


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