background preloader

Memory

Facebook Twitter

Memory. Memory/Hacks. Memory Systems. Memory. Memory techniques. Speak, Memory by Oliver Sacks. In 1993, approaching my sixtieth birthday, I started to experience a curious phenomenon—the spontaneous, unsolicited rising of early memories into my mind, memories that had lain dormant for upward of fifty years.

Speak, Memory by Oliver Sacks

Not merely memories, but frames of mind, thoughts, atmospheres, and passions associated with them—memories, especially, of my boyhood in London before World War II. Moved by these, I wrote two short memoirs, one about the grand science museums in South Kensington, which were so much more important than school to me when I was growing up; the other about Humphry Davy, an early-nineteenth-century chemist who had been a hero of mine in those far-off days, and whose vividly described experiments excited me and inspired me to emulation. Memory. How Our Brains Make Memories. Sitting at a sidewalk café in Montreal on a sunny morning, Karim Nader recalls the day eight years earlier when two planes slammed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

How Our Brains Make Memories

He lights a cigarette and waves his hands in the air to sketch the scene. At the time of the attack, Nader was a postdoctoral researcher at New York University. He flipped the radio on while getting ready to go to work and heard the banter of the morning disc jockeys turn panicky as they related the events unfolding in Lower Manhattan. Nader ran to the roof of his apartment building, where he had a view of the towers less than two miles away. He stood there, stunned, as they burned and fell, thinking to himself, “No way, man. In the following days, Nader recalls, he passed through subway stations where walls were covered with notes and photographs left by people searching desperately for missing loved ones. Nader believes he may have an explanation for such quirks of memory. Scientists discover how the brain encodes memories at a cellular level. (Santa Barbara, Calif.) –– Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have made a major discovery in how the brain encodes memories.

The finding, published in the December 24 issue of the journal Neuron, could eventually lead to the development of new drugs to aid memory. The team of scientists is the first to uncover a central process in encoding memories that occurs at the level of the synapse, where neurons connect with each other. "When we learn new things, when we store memories, there are a number of things that have to happen," said senior author Kenneth S. Kosik, co-director and Harriman Chair in Neuroscience Research, at UCSB's Neuroscience Research Institute. Kosik is a leading researcher in the area of Alzheimer's disease.

"One of the most important processes is that the synapses –– which cement those memories into place –– have to be strengthened," said Kosik. This is a neuron. (Photo Credit: Sourav Banerjee) Part of strengthening a synapse involves making new proteins. Implicit memory. Evidence and current research[edit] Advanced studies of implicit memory began only a few decades ago.

Implicit memory

Many of these studies focus on the effect of implicit memory known as priming.[1] Several studies have been performed that confirm the existence of a separate entity which is implicit memory. In one such experiment, participants were asked to listen to several songs and decide if they were familiar with the song or not. Half of the participants were presented with familiar American folk songs and the other half were presented with songs made using the tunes of the same songs from group 1 but mixed with new lyrics.

Results show that participants in group 1 had a much higher chance of recalling the songs as being familiar, even though in both groups, the tunes of the songs were the same.[5] This study shows that people are even implicitly making connections amongst their memories. Current research[edit] According to Daniel L. There are usually two approaches to studying implicit memory. Explicit Groups vs Implicit Groups. Kevin Cheng (aka @k), product manager at Twitter and an all around smart guy wrote a great blog post called Can We Ever Digitally Organize Our Friends?.

Explicit Groups vs Implicit Groups

I've been thinking many of the same things that Kevin wrote about since I started to use Google+ a few weeks ago and Kevin's post is a good opportunity to riff on the same ideas. But first, a bit of humor courtesy of someecards: With that out of the way, here's my thinking on grouping things. I don't like to be that organized personally. I don't file stuff away very well. So when faced with the chore of taking all my friends and colleagues and dropping them in buckets (or circles as it were), I tired of that chore quickly. I did create two groups that I think are particularly valuable; my family and our firm.

But past that it becomes muddy. The story of the self. Memory is our past and future.

The story of the self

To know who you are as a person, you need to have some idea of who you have been. And, for better or worse, your remembered life story is a pretty good guide to what you will do tomorrow. "Our memory is our coherence," wrote the surrealist Spanish-born film-maker, Luis Buñuel, "our reason, our feeling, even our action. " Lose your memory and you lose a basic connection with who you are. It's no surprise, then, that there is fascination with this quintessentially human ability. This is quite a trick, psychologically speaking, and it has made cognitive scientists determined to find out how it is done.