Monday, November 28, 2011
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Thursday, November 17, 2011
This is a web site with a test on memory for research at Edinburgh University in the UK. I thought it might show me more clearly what sort of strategies I used for remembering things, because I seem to have such a bad memory, even for important things.
It is online, and looks at spatial manipulation, working memory capacity, delayed recall, visual memory, visual memory capacity, binding and digit span.
I discovered that if I am able to rehearse things verbally I did much better – even with the digit span I added ‘chunking’ as the amount of numbers grew and was much more successful. Visual memory was much more difficult for me, and although I understand some people can picture in their minds a whole image, I don’t seem to be able to do that, and I am not sure if there are strategies available to help me improve that skill.
I would be interested to know how many in our class have the same difficulty with visual memory, because we are all studying art/design type subjects and the other visual imagery examples. I wonder if this ability has any impact on our visual skills
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
People Learn While They Sleep, Study Suggests
Considering the enormous class emphasis on memory, I found a recent article regarding a ‘different kind’ of memory, one rooted in sleep. The study mentioned did not identify what kind of memories improve with sleep, but instead focused on how the conscious and unconscious processes of memory are linked, and how much more productive the unconscious version may be. It would seem that it is significantly more.
(See the study abstract here.)
It has been known for a while that while the conscious mind is sleeping, the rest of the brain is working to consolidate and store away the day’s data and experiences. My last psychology teacher always told his students to do a little extra studying right before falling asleep, that the information would then be rolling around in the mind all night, and hopefully have stuck by morning. I would often use this tactic the night before biology tests and end up dreaming of mitosis and mRNA, and then continue mulling over such subjects all through my routine the next morning while still far too groggy for such complex mental processes.
The short article does not actually describe what ‘memory’ they are speaking of in any real way, or offer any sort of definition for us, but perhaps it is this sort of ‘memory’ that they have discovered and are now working to explore.
Monday, November 07, 2011
Friday, November 04, 2011
Okay, like any short program, Brain Games gives multiple examples throughout the episode that have to do with the main subject. The example that I would like everyone to focus on, is the crime portrayed at the opening of the episode and how the witnesses remember the event.
(Unfortunately the videos were taken down...)
According to the neuroscience professor featured on the episode, this phenomenon is called "unconscious transference". It occurs when the brain recognizes a face that is not necessarily the individual that they are trying to conjure. As a result, the brain transfers the identity of the unknown to the recognized face, even creating false scenarios around this transference in order to validate the memory. The problems and issues that arise from this function of the brain are multiplied two-fold when it applies to lineup testimonies.
As the detective stated, "eyewitness testimony is considered by judges and most people to be the most reliable information." This is distressing because as the episode continues to show, eyewitness testimony is definitely not all it's cracked up to be. Realistically, eyewitness testimony should be the least convincing piece of evidence since the major cause of wrongful convictions is faulty human memory.