Dragaerans and learning (was re: the honing of Vlad)

Sat Feb 4 12:47:23 PST 2006

Davdi Silverrock wrote:

>On 1/31/06, Jon_Lincicum wrote:
>>Of course, one might well ask (and I have) why it takes Dragaerans so long
>>to study things? I can only conclude that the same factors that give
>>Dragaerans a long lifespan also result in them being very slow learners,
>>at least by our standards. 
>This is something I've been pondering for a while, and while I don't
>have a good answer, here's a wildly pararectal handwave:
>Consider that there is more than one type of memory, event memory, and
>skill memory.  Event memory is broken down into short-term and
>long-term memory, and skill memory is built from long-term memories. 
>Now, if you have really, really long lived entities, it would make
>sense for them to be able to retain strong, long-term memories
>throughout their lifetime.  However, it ought not be *too* easy to
>form strong, long-term memories, because brain capacity is finite.  So
>it therefore makes sense that it takes a lot longer for strong,
>long-term skill memories to form in beings that have a lifespan of
>2000-3000 years.
There's some merit in what you say--at the same time, we have examples 
in some cases (Morrolan's study of sorcery, for one) in which 
Dragaeran's seem to learn very rapidly.

Now, since Morrolan thought he was a short-lived Easterner while he was 
growing up, he may be more used to learning at a faster pace than other 
Dragaerans. However, this might suggest that the slow pace of learning 
is more a cultural factor than a biological one.

There's an example in /Dzur/ (or at least in KwH) that seems 
appropriate, but since not everyone's read it yet (and details may 
change before publication anyway), I will refrain from citing it. Remind 
me in August, I guess. ;-)

>Hm.  This is a more scientific breakdown of the different types of memory:
>   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory
>Fortunately for my handwave, many aspects of how memory works are
>still not well understood.
Well, that's what makes it such a good area for speculation, I guess. ;-)

>But perhaps a 34- or 51-, or maybe even 68-year curriculum would be
>more appropriate for Dragaerans.  Hm.  4 years (as in a 4-year
>college) is 4% of a human lifespan.  4% of, say, 2500, is a century or
Again, it likely depends mostly on the subject being studied. (And, of 
course, on how specialized the curriculum is). For example, there are 
plenty of simple subjects that we study that could be covered from top 
to bottom in a single 6-month course. Whereas training for an entire 
vocation is typically a 2-year, 4-year, or (in the case of an MD) 12-18 
year process.

But this point should be pretty obvious, I suppose.