background preloader

Memory and Recall: 10 Amazing Facts You Should Know

Human memory and recall works nothing like a computer, but that’s what makes it all the more fascinating to understand and experience. “If we remembered everything we should on most occasions be as ill off as if we remembered nothing.” ~William James It’s often said that a person is the sum of their memories. Despite this, memory and recall is generally poorly understood, which is why many people say they have ‘bad memories’. Here is my 10-point guide to the psychology of memory and recall (it is based on an excellent review chapter by the distinguished UCLA memory expert, Professor Robert A. 1. Everyone has experienced the frustration of not being able to recall a fact from memory. So it seems obvious that memories decay, like fruit going off. But what on earth is the point of a brain that remembers everything but can’t recall most of it? 2. Obviously the only one that’s of interest is the most recent. 3. There’s another side to the fact that memories do not decay. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Memory: 10 Fascinating Quirks Everyone Should Know Why we remember and why we forget: it’s context, fading emotions, deep processing, the ‘Google effect’, the reminiscence bump and way more… Many people say they have bad memories, but the majority are wrong. The way memory works can be unexpected, frustrating, wonderful, and even quirky — but not necessarily ‘bad’. For most of us the problem isn’t with our memories, it’s with understanding how memory works. Here are ten interesting quirks of memory which provide a better insight into what makes us remember — or forget. 1. What we can remember partly depends on the situation and mental state we are in at the time. This is because our memories work by association. The context itself can refer to all kinds of things: some things are easier to remember in a certain place, others when we experience specific smells, others when we are in particular emotional states. 2. The ‘Google effect’ is the finding that we tend to forget things which we know we can look up on the internet. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

The Drug That Never Lets Go Photo By @FatTonyBMX Dickie Sanders was not naturally prone to depression. The 21-year-old BMX rider was known for being sweet spirited and warm -- a hugger not a hand-shaker. The kind of guy who called on holidays. Who helped his father on the family farm. Who spent countless hours perfecting complicated tricks on his bike. Yet on Nov. 12, 2010, Sanders was found dead on the floor of his childhood bedroom. PBS NewsHour Science Support Provided By The National Science Foundation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the S.D. The suicide was the culmination of five days of strange behavior that began shortly after Sanders snorted a powdery substance he bought from a friend. “I don't like the way this is making me feel," Sanders told his stepmother, Julie, as the two awaited his release from the hospital. An autopsy revealed a powerful stimulant in his system: methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV. What Do Bath Salts Packages Look Like?

Happy Habits: How to Fix Bad Moods Which do you prefer to get first: the good news or the bad news? “Imagine that you have two letters in your mailbox. One notifies you that you were caught on camera speeding and must pay a fine. Another is a nice handwritten letter from your best friend who lives in a foreign country. We are forced to make decisions like this all the time. In a new study participants were given pairs of everyday events, both uplifting and depressing, to see how they chose to order the experiences (Sul et al., 2012). Some of the pairs were both uplifting, some both depressing and some mixed, for example: You lost a $250 gift certificate for a department store.You had a good time with some of your friends. Participants could not only choose the order of the events but also their timing. When both good and bad things happen you don’t usually want it all on the same day. Life, of course, tends to be more mixed and so it’s the mixed pairs that are most interesting. Image credit: Prince Lang

On the Tip-of-the-Tongue: Blocked Memories What is this instrument called? Is it on the tip of your tongue? “What’s the name of that guy who was in that film with…you know the one…he’s…no, no it’s not Denzel Washington, the other guy. The tip-of-the-tongue or ‘TOT’ phenomenon is now well-documented in psychology. Sometimes all you can think about is something similar, say another actor who is often in the same types of films. Studies on blocking have shown that around half of the time we will become ‘unblocked’ after about a minute. As anyone getting on in years will tell you, blocking increases with age. The taste of words on the tip of the tongue One fascinating aspect of the ‘TOT’ phenomenon is the study of synaesthetes. This last category, a rare form known as lexical-gustatory synaesthesia, provides an opportunity to study the TOT phenomenon in an unusual way. Magically, there’s evidence this really does happen. But what if the synaesthetes are just making these tastes up? I’ve remembered, it’s Will Smith! References James, L.

10 Mind-Boggling Psychiatric Treatments by Dan Greenberg Nobody ever claimed a visit to the doctor was a pleasant way to pass the time. But if you're timid about diving onto a psychiatrist's couch or paranoid about popping pills, remember: It could be worse. Like getting-a-hole-drilled-into-your-skull worse. 1. Insulin-Coma Therapy The coma-therapy trend began in 1927. 2. Ancient life was not without its hazards. 3. Charles Darwin's grandfather Erasmus Darwin was a physician, philosopher, and scientist, but he wasn't particularly adept at any of the three. 4. If the word "hydrotherapy" conjures up images of Hollywood stars lazily soaking in rich, scented baths, then you probably weren't an early 20th-century mental patient. 5. Much like Yoda, Austrian physician Franz Mesmer (1734-1815) believed that an invisible force pervaded everything in existence, and that disruptions in this force caused pain and suffering. 6. Ah, if only we were talking about a therapy for malaria. 7. Nobody ever said doctors had flawless logic. 8. 9.

The Illusion of Transparency Other people can’t read your mental state as well as you think. Most people hate public speaking. The very idea starts the palms sweating and the stomach churning. It makes sense: with everyone’s eyes on you, the potential for embarrassment is huge. Crowds, we are told, can sense our nerves. Or can they? When this is tested experimentally we find an interesting thing. The results showed that people tended to over-estimate just how nervous they appeared to others. In other studies people have been tested trying to hide the lies they are telling, as well as their disgust at a foul-tasting drink and even their concern at a staged emergency. Sometimes simply knowing this can help. Psychologists call this the ‘illusion of transparency’. You can test this illusion by tapping out the rhythm to a song and getting a friend to try and guess what it is. When this study was carried out, people guessed that those listening would get it about 50% of the time (Newton, 1990; PhD dissertation).

7 Sins of Memory Psychologists have found that right from the moment an event occurs to the moment we try to retrieve it, our minds are fallible. “Memory itself is an internal rumour.” –George Santayana The word rumour captures an aspect of memory perfectly. When we delve backwards, moments never return in their original clarity; they return as rumours of the original event. Faces have been switched, names deleted, words edited – sometimes it’s as though we weren’t even there. Psychologists have found that right from the moment an event occurs, is laid down in memory (or not), to the moment we try to retrieve it (or can’t), our minds are fallible. But despite these ‘sins’, we still get by. This series of posts explores these sins and in turn uncovers some bizarre stories as well as shedding light on everyday occurrences. → Now read on for six myths about memory. Image credit: Tracy Byrnes

I Human Engineering and Climate Change Abstract Anthropogenic climate change is arguably one of the biggest problems that confront us today. There is ample evidence that climate change is likely to affect adversely many aspects of life for all people around the world, and that existing solutions such as geoengineering might be too risky and ordinary behavioural and market solutions might not be sufficient to mitigate climate change. In this paper, we consider a new kind of solution to climate change, what we call human engineering, which involves biomedical modifications of humans so that they can mitigate and/or adapt to climate change. We argue that human engineering is potentially less risky than geoengineering and that it could help behavioural and market solutions succeed in mitigating climate change. I. Anthropogenic climate change, or climate change for short, is arguably one of the biggest problems that confront us today. II. Pharmacological meat intolerance Making humans smaller

8 Ways to Defeat Persistent Unwanted Thoughts Repressing thoughts doesn’t work so here are 8 ways to get rid of negative thoughts. It’s one of the irritations of having a mind that sometimes it’s hard to get rid of negative thoughts. It could be a mistake at work, money worries or perhaps a nameless fear. Whatever the anxiety, fear or worry, it can prove very difficult to control. The most intuitive method to get rid of negative thoughts is trying to suppress them by pushing it out of our minds. Unfortunately, as many studies have shown, thought suppression doesn’t work. So, what alternatives exist to get rid of negative thoughts we’d rather not have going around in our heads? In an article for American Psychologist, the expert on thought suppression, Daniel Wegner, explains some potential methods to get rid of negative thoughts (Wegner, 2011). 1. The natural tendency when trying to get your mind off, say, a social gaff you made, is to try and think about something else: to distract yourself. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. The disclaimer

Brain overload explains missing childhood memories Anthony Bradshaw / Getty Images Scientists believe they've learned why toddlers don't retain early memories. By Linda Carroll Scientists -- and parents -- have long wondered why we don’t remember anything that happened before age 3. Now a new study shows that “infantile amnesia” may be due to the rapid growth of nerve cells in the hippocampus, the brain region responsible for filing new experiences into long-term memory. While youngsters do seem to remember important events for a short time after they occur, they lose these memories as time goes by, says study co-author Paul Frankland, a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. “They can’t form stable memories of what happens in the first few years,” Frankland says. There’s always been a suspicion that the hippocampus had something to do with the puzzle, says Dr. “The hippocampus matures slowly and probably doesn’t reach any reasonable maturity until we’re 3 or 4,” Kandel says. Dr. Related:

VHEMT Color Psychology by David Johnson Like death and taxes, there is no escaping color. It is ubiquitous. Yet what does it all mean? Colors often have different meanings in various cultures. Black Black is the color of authority and power. White Brides wear white to symbolize innocence and purity. Red The most emotionally intense color, red stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing. The most romantic color, pink, is more tranquilizing. Blue The color of the sky and the ocean, blue is one of the most popular colors. Green Currently the most popular decorating color, green symbolizes nature. Yellow Cheerful sunny yellow is an attention getter. Purple The color of royalty, purple connotes luxury, wealth, and sophistication. Brown Solid, reliable brown is the color of earth and is abundant in nature. Colors of the Flag In the U.S. flag, white stands for purity and innocence. Food for Thought While blue is one of the most popular colors it is one of the least appetizing.