Fitting Mental Models

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Self researcher(s) Joost Plattel
Related tools Fitbit
Related topics Food tracking, Productivity

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Has inspired Projects (0)
Show and Tell Talk Infobox
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Date 2012/09/15
Event name 2012 QS Global Conference
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Fitting Mental Models is a Show & Tell talk by Joost Plattel that has been imported from the Quantified Self Show & Tell library.The talk was given on 2012/09/15 and is about Food tracking, and Productivity.

Description[edit | edit source]

A description of this project as introduced by Quantified Self follows:

Joost studies Chemistry and loves working on experiments. In this video, he talk about some things that he discovered from doing all the tracking that he has done from his experiments. It’s about fitting mental models to a self-tracking life. During the last three years of tracking his food, activity and productivity, he noticed some things happening to his mind. It adapts. He shares his experience of his brain adaptation while tracking since tracking.

Video and transcript[edit | edit source]

A transcript of this talk is below:

QS Conference 2012 - Joost Plattel - Fitting Mental Models

Hello QS folk, I’m Joost and I studied chemistry which is all about experiments, which is why I like QS. I’m going to talk about some things that I discovered doing all these tracking that I have done. It’s about fitting mental models to a self-tracking life. And what I mean with mental models, I’m trying to explain and it’s really hard because I don’t know for sure what it is right now; I’m still figuring it out. It has to do something with the brain. That’s mine I had an MRI done, and I’m up for the next one probably at the end of the year I think, and the thing is I’m fascinated about the mind especially my own. And during the last three years that I’ve been tracking, I’ve noticed some things happening. And one of those kinds of things are that next to the tracking you do there is also something happening to your mind. It adapts, and that happens when you track food, when you track your activity, for example with a Fitbit. It happens when you track your productivity, based on rescue time or any other software that you use. There is an additional layer that’s happening with your brain. So it took me a lot of effort to figure out what it actually was, because it’s kind of like I don’t know for sure if it’s something, so that’s where I need your help with. For example let’s get started with the Fitbit. I have been wearing that for about one and a half years now, but what I actually do right now is estimating how long something takes in the amount of steps instead of the distance. Or if I have the distance I know how many steps it takes; not exactly but I can guess quite accurately. And you can see it’s a heuristic kind of thing where you use models that you’ve built on your own and based on experience, and then estimate with those models how many steps it takes. And it’s sort of like a plug-in, where like you load extra software when you put it in, and something useful is happening. And food, for example is another kind of thing where I noticed something strange, so when I was tracking my food with Foodzy, there’s just this strange thing going on. It influenced my behavior on food, but it also change the way that I remembered. So when I first got started, I had to put it in once each day or maybe even more. But at the end of the month save mentally everything I took during the week and save it all at once. As now if you ask people what did you eat last week for dinner, probably a very few people know. So that’s the kind of things that change in your brain while you track stuff; it changes the way I remember. And if that happens to food it happens to activity. I think it’s interesting if you can use those self-tracking patterns or methods to change the way you think or remember stuff. So, how about you do Dual N-back with your food? I think it’s interesting if you can mentally jog your way with self-tracking things, so you combined different stuff. Another example, I shot a picture every day at 8:36pm, and so far for me it has become my bodily alarm clock. So around 8:36 or 8:30 I can actually feel that there is something that actually needs to be done. It’s a feeling that I can’t describe; there is something that needs to be done, but it’s accurate and that’s one of the pictures. And so it’s quite accurate, and with an accuracy around 10 to 15 minutes I can actually say if it is 9:30 or 8:30 and it isn’t, and I think that is somehow related to your circadian rhythms, but it could be like the sun as well where you estimate with the amount of light you have during the day. But it could be behavior by don’t know for sure. It’s in the brain as well I think, so if I stop taking a picture it disappears, and the same with the food, if I stop tracking food, which I did, I can’t remember my food what I ate last week. So, there are things going on which are like matter stuff going on next to the tracking, and I just can’t explain how it’s happening and that’s why I need to know if I’m right. But I’m also curious if we can use this, and in what way and how we can stimulate those kinds of things that are happening, so we can use them like quicker or better, and the name that I described it on is Plug-in Heuristics, where just like the software you plug them in which the plug-in is tracking, and heuristics is the thing you can use like the estimation of steps, or you actually use the tracking as a way to load specific matters you use more often. So I don’t know if I’m right, but hopefully maybe I’ll see something change; I don’t know, I don’t think so but I’m still curious. And I am very curious if other people experience the same kind of thing that’s happening to them. Anyone, put your hand up, awesome, I’m not the only one that’s good. I was a bit afraid I was the only one.

What I want to do, well I already told you, I want to explore new things and I mentioned food, Fitbit and the bodily alarm clock; 8:36. It could be otherwise and I’m still figuring out what I want to do with sleep but I don’t know yet, and if you experience the same thing please get in touch with me, and the next slide is going to be my contact info.

About the presenter[edit | edit source]

Joost Plattel gave this talk.