A Help to Other Mental Processes 145
familiar object, or one with pleasant associations, is often easier to remember than one which has no par ticular interest. One patient was cured by the memory of a yellow buttercup, and another was able to remem ber the opal of her ring when she could not remember a period. Whatever the patient finds easiest to remem ber is the best to remember, because the memory can never be perfect unless it is easy.
When the memory of the period becomes habitual, it is not only not a burden, but is a great help to other mental processes. Then mind, when it remembers one thing better than all other things, possesses central fixa tion, and its efficiency is thereby increased, just as the efficiency of the eye is increased by central fixation. In other words, the mind attains its greatest efficiency when it is at rest, and it is never at rest unless one thing is remembered better than all other things. When the mind is in such a condition that a period is remembered perfectly, the memory for other things is improved.
A high-school girl reports that when she was unable to remember the answer to a question in an examination, she remembered the period, and the answer came to her. When I cannot remember the name of a patient, I re member a period-and, behold, I have it! A musician who had perfect sight and could remember a period per fectly, had a perfect memory for music; but a musician with imperfect sight who could not remember a period could play nothing without his notes, only gaining that power when his sight and visual memory had become normal. In some exceptional cases, the strain to see letters on the Snellen test card has been so terrific that patients have said that they not only could not remem-