Posts Tagged: ‘memory’

I don’t really have much to add to the post that was published on the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest blog, but the study they wrote about bears more than just simply passing along the link, I think. The post, “How walking through a doorway increases forgetting,” concerns a study out of Notre Dame that sought to get to the bottom of how the mind carves experience up into episodic memory.

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A new study out from the University of California, Irvine found that hormonal contraception influences how women remember emotionally provocative events, compared to women who aren’t on birth control. Specifically, naturally cycling women may retain more details about an emotional event (i.e. the type of car involved in a fatal car accident, the accident setting, etc.), whereas women taking birth control pills may better recollect central information, or the “gist” of it.

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Each of us is a collection of memories. We’re the recorded information of all the experiences, lessons and feelings that came before the present moment. So how are we to square away the knowledge that some of the memories that compose us are fraudulent? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I examine the world of false memories and misattribution. How do false memories form and how can we carry them around without realizing there’s something wrong?

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There’s a mummy dancing and unraveling.

Next to it, a noisy cat also covered in mummy wrappings.

Toilet paper. Cat food.

Let’s do this.

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During the Conscious after Decapitation episode on SYSK, we all closed our eyes and counted off four seconds, since that’s about how long it’s been determined a person can stay conscious after being decapitated. We thought about all of the sights and sounds and sensations that can be experienced in four seconds and we were all thrilled with the horror and dread of it all.

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This article claims that, by placing electrodes on the scalp and adding a little electricity, people can boost their memories:

Skull electrodes give memory a boost

The technique uses transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), in which weak electrical currents are applied to the scalp using electrodes. The method can temporarily increase or decrease activity in a specific brain region and has already been shown to boost verbal and motor skills in volunteers.

The results of the tests? “Those in the first group more than doubled their scores after receiving tDCS, experiencing a 110 per cent improvement in visual memory.”

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I think it’s neat that it’s 2010 and we still have no idea how we perceive taste. We were supposed to have hovercars and metallic jumpsuits by now and we still only have what can be regarded as a pretty basic understanding of our sense of taste. In the last year or two, though, the scope of what constitutes has expanded tremendously.

What we know of taste has thus far been largely observational. We know that taste and smell are inextricably linked since people who lose one also lose the other. We know that the mental constructs of tastes we create and store in our brains are plastic; they can be enhanced and revised by further encounters with a taste. We know our sense of taste can be tricked by chemicals that mock the flavors of foods. We know that there are five specialized taste receptor types; umami (my favorite), sour, sweet, salty and bitter.

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When I meet someone for the first time, there’s a 100 percent chance that 10 minutes after he or she leaves my sight, I won’t be able to recall what that person looks like. At all. Sure, I’ll probably remember stuff like hair color or ethnicity, but the face will be a total blank.

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Human memory is tricky, to say the least. It’s an ever-changing cloud of imperfect recollections, distortions and outright fabrications. It’s a tag cloud full of joys, torments and minutia. And while savants and mnemonists can sometimes exhibit startling displays of memory, there is no such thing as total recall.

Following a 2005 study published in the journal Neurocase, however, the media had a field day with Jill Price, a California woman with an amazing capacity for personal memory. Give her a name and she can tell you exactly where and when she spoke to that person last and what the subject was. Throw out a date and she can link it to plane crashes, presidential elections and episodes of “Dallas.”

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A very interesting little memory test that will check two different memory functions. When it says that you should take a 5 minute break, you should heed its advice to get an accurate reading. Face Memory Test [[[Jump to previous test - How long do you have before you die?]]]

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