Sunday, October 30, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
While this experiment is particularly related to neuroscience, the most interest aspects for me are the potential abilities to reconstruct dreams and memories. This would enable humans to overcome false memory, distortion, and other problems relating to memory. We could be able to replay memories on Youtube using our smartphones anywhere we are located. This experience would be similar to how we use computers and the internet as spaces that we write down our thoughts and experiences and access them when we forget. This would be especially helpful during trials when false memory may effect an outcome unjustly. The practical claims that the article makes with improvements in this technology are also interesting. Non-verbal patients would be able to speak through past memories and allow us to have a deeper understanding of situations that may have led up to their loss of speech. Since our natural experience is like watching a movie, these videos of memories and dreams could also teach us about how we perceive reality in new and different ways.
Many questions arise related back to our readings we have done so far such as if the family members were shown visual memories of their grandparent's Nazi experience, would they still deny their involvement? Would the false recollections of the O.J. Simpson trial and Challenger news happen if this technology was present? Would people still believe in their actual memories of events or would the visual memories become the sole memory?
Original article and video: http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2011/09/22/brain-movies/
Gallant Lab Site with FAQs: https://sites.google.com/site/gallantlabucb/publications/nishimoto-et-al-2011
Original Paper: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822%2811%2900937-7?script=true
Saturday, October 15, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
In his TED talk, Daniel Kahneman discussed how understanding memory is a key factor to understanding wellbeing and happiness. He explained that we have two selves: the experiencing self and the remembering self. The experiencing self is constantly in the present, where as the remembering self maintains the story of our life through memories of the past. Most moments of the experiencing self’s life are lost; very few are stored by the remembering self.
One of Kahneman’s first anecdotes is quite relevant to our recent class discussions on memory. He told of a man who was enjoying listening to a beautiful concert; his experiencing self was delighting in every minute of the music, until there was a loud screeching noise at the end of the concert, which ruined the whole experience. Kahneman points out that it was not the experience that was ruined, but rather the memory of the experience that was ruined. Only one moment of the concert was unenjoyable, however, it tainted the entire memory.
Another question related to memory that Kahneman asked is: Why do we put so much more importance on memory relative to the importance we put on experience?