Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Mind is a Sieve

The Brian Williams kerfuffle has led to at least one positive thing, and that's this piece Slate did in recent days on ten ways to avoid false memories.  I don't know the ins and outs of Williams' own situation but I think the article could be stated simply as "distrust and verify" when it comes to our own recollections.

Recently, I heard a retired professor I know recount a tale about two women he had known a long time. By chance, I knew the story. One of them had been quite avant-garde in her style back in the day, and the other, fascinated by her had followed her around the supermarket. He told the story accurately, except for one detail--he got the women reversed. It was a minor detail, as both were alluring figures in their day, and it could easily have been reversed. But as I had known the one well and the other a little, and heard the first recount it, I am pretty sure I had the accurate version. But maybe I'm wrong. The fact is, we remember things our own way and for our own reasons and it's good to, uh, remember that...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Gender differences in memory explained at Slate

I just finished reading an article at Slate called Why Men Never Remember Anything, by Melissa Dahl. The idea is that without meaning to, parents educate boys and girls differently when it comes to remembering things.

It's funny, because in my life, I seem to have run across a lot of men and boys with excellent memory--much better memory than mine. But when I think about it, they possibly tend to remember more informational stuff than they do about experiences with friends and family.

It's apparently better for your memory to have lots of different points of access to experience. So boys, even if you're bored with what's going on with your girlfriend or sister, you should at least try to recall it. It's in your own best interest.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Transient Global Amnesia

Here's an interesting piece from the New York Times on the phenomenon of Transient Global Amnesia by a person who suddenly and luckily temporarily lost his memory at the age of 25. It's not often that we have the chance to hear someone tell what losing memory feels like, as usually they don't return to normalcy to tell us...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sam Kean's memorial piece on an amnesia patient

Slate has a good article up about the late Kent Cochrane, who was a much studied amnesiac from Toronto. Studying what his memory could do after an accident that took out both of his hippocampi has been a great aid to science, though I doubt Cochrane had much say in the matter. Although all these memory studies can lead you to think that our sense of self is just what happens in the neurons, I found this article to have a surprising conclusion about identity. So go HERE and read through to the end. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dementia from the inside

I thought I'd post a link to a Slate article today. It's a rather long piece, reprinted from the Georgia Review, and I am only halfway through it, but I didn't think you should have to wait on me. It's written by Gerda Saunders, and is an account of her own decline, after witnessing a similar descent by her own mother. It is very well written and an excellent eyewitness report. Here is Dementia: Telling Who I am Before I Forget.

Monday, March 10, 2014

An Excerpt from The Guardian of All Things, by Michael S. Malone

I just found this featured at Delancey Place, which sends out a diverse selection of emails if you want to sign up. This piece talks about how much we know about the physical basis of memory and how much we don't. You can find it HERE . There is a pretty cool little video of movement inside the brain as well.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Alzheimer's related deaths have been underreported

They US Against Alzheimer's group has just pointed me to a new article published in the journal Neurology, which cites that deaths with Alzheimer's related components are far higher than previously established. Right up there with cancer and heart disease, US Against Alzheimer's say that the disease gets a tiny fraction of the funding.

Here's a link to their petition to Congress to get more funding for research.

And here's a layperson friendly article on the new research findings.