Archive for the ‘Memory’ Category

How reliable is your memory?

October 12, 2018

Simple answer: not very … it’s subject to gaps, distortions and falsehoods.
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The Kavanaugh-Ford imbroglio really piqued my interest in brainworks, memory and psychotherapy.

Studying up on the topics, I stumbled upon a 2013 TED Talk by Dr. Elizabeth Loftus – a research psychologist specializing in memory.  Her specific areas of interest are the effects of trauma and therapeutic memory reconstruction.

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click to view

Trust me, the entire 15 minute talk which has been viewed by almost 4 million people and is loaded with evidence and examples – is engaging and educational.  Well worth watching!

For now, here are some key snippets from the talk…

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Scientifically speaking, should the accuser be expected to remember when and where?

September 20, 2018

First, the disclaimers: On balance, I support Kavanaugh for the SCOTUS (though he wasn’t my first choice) … and, I’m not a psychologist.

But, over the years, I’ve done a lot of reading on how  brains work … largely focused on how students students learn – cognitively and mechanically.

So, politics aside, I found the accuser’s story (as reported to the WaPo) to be curious … mostly because of the self-admitted memory gaps … e.g what year the alleged  incident took place? where the incident took place? who else was present?

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The cable coverage has been predictably biased on the question of how much an accuser should be able to recall … cherry-picking folks who fit their respective narratives.

CNN/MSNBC have rolled out experts arguing that memories of traumatic events are usually vague, fragmented and incomplete. Think: fog of war.

FOX has presented rape victims who claim precise recall of all sights, sounds and smells from start-to-finish. Think: mechanical evidence gathering.

Note: I do channel-switch to hear both sides.  If you don’t, try it to get a more complete picture.

I wanted a more scientific treatment, so I did some digging.

Here’s what I found…

(more…)

Study: Half of people “remember” events that never happened

September 19, 2018

According to a recent study, once a person hears that a fictional event happened, there’s a 50/50 chance that they will believe that it took place and start to embellish it with details, even if the imaginary event is of a personal nature.

For example, researchers “primed” subjects with fake (but relatively harmless) memories, such as taking a childhood hot-air balloon ride or pulling a prank on a friend.

Researchers intimated that the imaginary events  were real.

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And, the result …

(more…)

I do my best thinking when I sleep … another scientific rationale.

April 24, 2018

 By default, your brain “defragments” when you sleep.

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In a prior post, we reported some scientific evidence that most people really do think when they sleep.

For details, see: I do my best thinking when I’m sleeping … say, what?

Let’s take the science a step further…

image

First, an analogy…

Have you ever defragmented your computer’s hard drive?

Just in case your answer is “no” – or, you’ve never heard of defragmentation – here’s a short course:

When you save a file on your computer (think: Word, Powerpoint, Excel), the file isn’t stored in one piece.

Rather, it’s automatically broken into smaller pieces … and each piece is stashed in the first place that the computer finds an open space on the hard drive.

Since the file is stored in scattered pieces, the computer has to reassemble it when you subsequently re-open the file.

That takes time … and slows the process.

There’s a process called “defragmentation” that sorts through a computer’s hard drive, eliminates “dead links” and reassembles “live” files into contiguous pieces … making the save & open processes more efficient.

Well, it turns out that your brain comes with a process analogous to defragmentation … it’s called “synaptic pruning” … and it happens automatically when you sleep.

Here’s how it works …

(more…)

As if forgetting stuff wasn’t bad enough …

April 19, 2018

Study: Half of people “remember” events that never happened

=====

According to a recent study, once a person hears that a fictional event happened, there’s a 50/50 chance that they will believe that it took place and start to embellish it with details, even if the imaginary event is of a personal nature.

For example, researchers “primed” subjects with fake (but relatively harmless) memories, such as taking a childhood hot-air balloon ride or pulling a prank on a friend.

Researchers intimated that the imaginary events  were real.

clip_image002

And, the result …

(more…)

Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

April 3, 2018

First, some background …

The tests I give my students always include some questions that can reasonably be tagged “memorization”.

Some students are repulsed by them and shout the cultural refrain: “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.”

The apparent thinking: You’ve only got a limited amount of space in your brain, so don’t clog it with an overload of information … only store the stuff you can’t look-up.

image

What’s wrong with that argument?

(more…)

As if forgetting stuff wasn’t bad enough …

January 31, 2018

Study: Half of people “remember” events that never happened

=====

According to a recent study, once a person hears that a fictional event happened, there’s a 50/50 chance that they will believe that it took place and start to embellish it with details, even if the imaginary event is of a personal nature.

For example, researchers “primed” subjects with fake (but relatively harmless) memories, such as taking a childhood hot-air balloon ride or pulling a prank on a friend.

Researchers intimated that the imaginary events  were real.

clip_image002

And, the result …

(more…)

As if forgetting stuff wasn’t bad enough …

October 19, 2017

Study: Half of people “remember” events that never happened

=====

According to a recent study, once a person hears that a fictional event happened, there’s a 50/50 chance that they will believe that it took place and start to embellish it with details, even if the imaginary event is of a personal nature.

For example, researchers “primed” subjects with fake (but relatively harmless) memories, such as taking a childhood hot-air balloon ride or pulling a prank on a friend.

Researchers intimated that the imaginary events  were real.

clip_image002

And, the result …

(more…)

Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

September 1, 2017

First, some background …

The tests I give my students always include some questions that can reasonably be tagged “memorization”.

Some students are repulsed by them and shout the cultural refrain: “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.”

The apparent thinking: You’ve only got a limited amount of space in your brain, so don’t clog it with an overload of information … only store the stuff you can’t look-up.

image

What’s wrong with that argument?

(more…)

I do my best thinking when I sleep … another scientific rationale.

May 17, 2017

 By default, your brain “defragments” when you sleep.

=========

In a prior post, we reported some scientific evidence that most people really do think when they sleep.

For details, see: I do my best thinking when I’m sleeping … say, what?

Let’s take the science a step further…

image

First, an analogy…

Have you ever defragmented your computer’s hard drive?

Just in case your answer is “no” – or, you’ve never heard of defragmentation – here’s a short course:

When you save a file on your computer (think: Word, Powerpoint, Excel), the file isn’t stored in one piece.

Rather, it’s automatically broken into smaller pieces … and each piece is stashed in the first place that the computer finds an open space on the hard drive.

Since the file is stored in scattered pieces, the computer has to reassemble it when you subsequently re-open the file.

That takes time … and slows the process.

There’s a process called “defragmentation” that sorts through a computer’s hard drive, eliminates “dead links” and reassembles “live” files into contiguous pieces … making the save & open processes more efficient.

Well, it turns out that your brain comes with a process analogous to defragmentation … it’s called “synaptic pruning” … and it happens automatically when you sleep.

Here’s how it works …

(more…)

Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

May 5, 2017

First, some background …

The tests I give my students always include some questions that can reasonably be tagged “memorization”.

Some students are repulsed by them them and shout the cultural refrain: “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.”

The apparent thinking: You’ve only got a limited amount of space in your brain, so don’t clog it with an overload of information … only store the stuff you can’t look-up.

image

What’s wrong with that argument?

(more…)

Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

February 7, 2017

Don’t memorize anything that you can lookup (<=bad advice!)

=======

First, some background …

The tests I give my students always include some questions that can reasonably be tagged “memorization”.

Some students are repulsed by them them and shout the cultural refrain: “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.”

The apparent thinking: You’ve only got a limited amount of space in your brain, so don’t clog it with an overload of information … only store the stuff you can’t look-up.

image

What’s wrong with that argument?

(more…)

As if forgetting stuff wasn’t bad enough …

February 6, 2017

Study: Half of people “remember” events that never happened

=====

According to a recent study, once a person hears that a fictional event happened, there’s a 50/50 chance that they will believe that it took place and start to embellish it with details, even if the imaginary event is of a personal nature.

For example, researchers “primed” subjects with fake (but relatively harmless) memories, such as taking a childhood hot-air balloon ride or pulling a prank on a friend.

Researchers intimated that the imaginary events  were real.

clip_image002

And, the result …

(more…)

Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

September 22, 2016

First, some background …

The tests I give my students always include some questions that can reasonably be tagged “memorization”.

Some students are repulsed by them and shout the cultural refrain: “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.”

The apparent thinking: You’ve only got a limited amount of space in your brain, so don’t clog it with an overload of information … only store the stuff you can’t look-up.

image

What’s wrong with that argument?

(more…)

Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

July 1, 2016

First, some background …

The tests I give my students always include some questions that can reasonably be tagged “memorization”.

Some students are repulsed by them them and shout the cultural refrain: “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.”

The apparent thinking: You’ve only got a limited amount of space in your brain, so don’t clog it with an overload of information … only store the stuff you can’t look-up.

image

What’s wrong with that argument?

(more…)

Digital amnesia: Is Google dulling your memory?

July 7, 2015

First, some background …

The tests I give my students always include some questions that can reasonably be tagged “memorization”.

Some students are repulsed by them them and shout the cultural refrain: “Don’t memorize anything that you can look up.”

The apparent thinking: You’ve only got a limited amount of space in your brain, so don’t clog it with an overload of information … only store the stuff you can’t look-up.

image

What’s wrong with that argument?

(more…)