Sunday, October 25, 2015

What We Know So Far about the Flash Anzan Method 2

3. The Flash Anzan Method Is Multitask System?

Multitask operation seems another brilliant characteristic of the Flash Anzan method.
Alex Bellos, a British science writer, reported an interesting scene in his article in the Guardian. The first video is from his article.
It shows two girls 
in a certain soroban juku playing a word-chain game called "Shiritori" while calculating.

In "Shiritori" game, you have to look for a noun word beginning with the last syllable of the word uttered by the opponent. They are doing this game simultaneously with the mental calculation.

The second video is from another "infotainment" TV show. It features a girl having a conversation with somebody while calculating. (This video is a bit longer. The conversation part starts from around 7:00)

In the video, the girl, who is watching numbers flashed on the screen, answers the question from the female TV reporter like this:

What is the capital city of France? - Paris.
What is your favorite food? - Okonomiyaki.

And of course, she calculated correctly.

There is yet another video demonstrating the multitask nature of the Flash Anzan. In this video, the girl is calculating simultaneously with cheerleading, which is not a verbal task but a motor task. 

The instructor (or her mother?) reads out the numbers flashed on the screen behind and the girl, who is twirling a baton, adds up the numbers and answers correctly.

In the meantime, 
Michael Frank of Stanford Univ. and David Barner at the UC, San Diego carried out a study on this phenomenon - the multitask performance of the Flash Anzan calculators. 

In the study, they asked 15 students, who are experts in mental calculation, to do two (or three) tasks simultaneously - calculation with either verbal task or motor task, or do both. And they said that the verbal task and motor task somewhat hindered their mental calculations, with the language task interfering slightly less than the motor task. 

Are the above videos testifying their study findings?

It's gonna be an interesting debate.

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