Roberta
 
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2013 04:04 am
As we get older, our memory starts to fail. I occasionally find it a challenge to remember what I was doing last week or what I had for dinner two nights ago.

I was watching TV, and Don Quixote was being discussed. I read it in Spanish and English many years year. Reading older Spanish was a challenge. Then I started thinking about reading older versions of English. I struggled with Beowulf. But I loved Chaucer. To my astonishment and amazement, I started reciting the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales in my head. I had memorized it in the late 1960s. How is this possible? How does this work?

I don't remember plenty of other things I memorized when I was in school. But the Prologue and the dagger speech from Macbeth are firmly in my head.

How can this be?

Anyone?
 
DavJohanis
 
  -3  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2013 04:15 am
@Roberta,
How memory works is overall identical per 'untampered' Human being.
In contrast below that, it is variable per every human being.

I never could remember what day I had exactly what meal, whilst I could remember phone numbers easily, if trying.
Memory works best when one asserts 'to remember'. Failing to assert that in normal every day function, leaves us pondering if we have flaws.
Recall of those things that you learned in school was not performed enough to imprint the facts throughout more important information's acquisition.

There are vast explanations about the nature of memory failure which spiral down a shocking rabbithole. One thing one must know about that is..

'there is nothing you lose, without equivalent gain, you only must find it'.

That makes slight sense, in fact the world mills around trying to make people feel better with all manner of alterations to peoples worlds, which is only confusing, when speed of reaction is often increased and often decreased at the same time on different axis of consciousness, per argument around the nature of perceptual situations.

There are ways to explain memory in fascinating ways, which might make it seem more diverse, in fact those explanations are very true.. However, explaining it is hard.

I would state, that, the most important thing to know about it for the youth of today.. Is that alterations through substance abuse, will change 'you' eventually, that is not good if you appreciate 'who you are'.

Your Macbeth, may have had impact at receptive energy point, sometimes we just learn, other times we are heightened.

Dav.
0 Replies
 
Ragman
 
  2  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2013 06:12 am
@Roberta,
I agree as it's the same experience for me. I recall Evangeline, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner..the Preamble to the Constitution....Gettysburg Address.

When we're young and impressionable, we absorbed like sponges. Those memories get locked into long term memory..think of it as akin to etching on glass. Somehow it stays in our perm memory.

Now...where the hell are my car keys?
0 Replies
 
jcboy
 
  2  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2013 06:22 am
@Roberta,
It happens to me sometimes and I’m not even 30 yet. Sometimes I can remember stuff from when I was a kid, like my first day of school but can’t remember certain things I did last week!
0 Replies
 
timur
 
  3  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2013 06:26 am
Ragman wrote:
Now...where the hell are my car keys?

Typical of short-term memory.


Quote:
Long-term memory (LTM) is memory in which associations among items are stored, as part of the theory of a dual-store memory model.

The division of long term and short term memory has been supported by several double dissociation experiments.[1]

According to the theory, long-term memory differs structurally and functionally from working memory or short-term memory, which ostensibly stores items for only around 20–30 seconds and can be recalled easily.

This differs from the theory of the single-store retrieved context model that has no differentiation between short-term and long-term memory.

Long term memory is an important aspect of cognition.

LTM can be divided into three processes: encoding, storage, and retrieval.[1]

Long term memory is said to be encoded in the medial temporal lobe. Without medial temporal lobe one cannot store new long term memories.


See here

and here
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2013 07:43 am
Right, I agree with Timur.

Older memories get "Hard Wired" into the brain.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2013 05:40 pm
Thanks for the responses. Some I get. Some are still not clear. For example, I did a lot of memorizing. Why do I remember some things and not others? So I can be saying in my head, "Is this a dagger I see before me, Handle toward my hand," while I go into the other room and then not remember why I went into the other room.

BTW, the best way to remember why you went into the other room is to go back where you started from.
Ragman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Jan, 2013 05:50 pm
@Roberta,
This is a matter of the difference of short term vs long term memory. The theory that a few of us are putting forth is that long term memory may occupy a different place in the brain that's a lot less volatile than short term memory - LT being more akin to hard wiring.

FWIW,. at aged 15, a friend of mine give me the name and address of her female cousin in another state who I met in person only briefly. This was by no means a relationship or even a romance and she became a short term pen pal (maybe one or two letters). I'm 62 now and can easily still recall her address. When I commited to remembering, I remembered ...forever...so it seems.

BTW, I checked my recall of the Preamble of the Constitution. I only recalled 75% verbatim. I missed a few key phrases. I guess the Preamble wasn't as cute as this girl was.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2013 02:27 am
@Roberta,
I think it's just that early learned and well learned stays.....the prologue is so glorious, too! Also, that sort of stuff rhymed and such....not that Shakespeare necessarily rhymes, in fact he doesn't much, but its still so striking and the cadence is so lovely it's easy to remember.

Also I think we tend to lose short term memory, not long term, as we get older.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2013 02:35 am
Its good to keep a file of things that u have been annoyed to forget,
but later u remember; (in case u forget again). Back it up.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 7 Jan, 2013 03:20 am
@dlowan,
Ragman, If long-term memory is in a different place in the brain from short-term memory, how does stuff get from short to long term? Do the memories take a hike? I remember phone numbers from before area codes existed.I called them a lot. But the numbers I call frequently these days aren't stuck in my head.

Deb, I think you're right about rhymes. Easier to remember. One step away from lyrics, which are easy to remember. Also in the Prologue, I loved the strange but almost recognizable words. Shoures soote (not sure of the spelling). Sweet showers.

David, What's the point of my writing stuff down, if I don't remember where I put it?
DavJohanis
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 05:56 am
@Roberta,
Quote:
David, What's the point of my writing stuff down, if I don't remember where I put it?

It has been 3 days apparantly, so I will take the liberty here.
The attitude in the quote of you above, is reserved (and I do KNOW this) for people as myself who have severe issues in two areas, memory and pointlessness.

You get a little black notebook and carry it with your passwords in and because it is important to you, you will use it when required. You will find you do not use it often, because not much seems so relevant (explaining what we mean by that is quite the task). Losing the pen is a pain, so creating a place to put it inside the book is useful. I suggest 5 cm x 4cm with a 1/3 pen size. Mobile phones do take over this function, but a notebook can not be broken and always can be re-written.

I am so bored.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 06:01 am
I too have memory issues, dating from a day when my mother used to describe me as an absent minded professor. I get brain freezes, I lose stuff, yet, I can recall my whole life from toddlerhood into the present. I envy the setantas of the world who have virtual photographic memory for what they read.
0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 02:07 pm
I started this thread because I was stunned that I remembered the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales.

Short-term memory is not a big problem for me. I keep appointments in a calendar. And I keep passwords on my computer table.

My memory (and other thought processes) are nowhere near as good as they used to be. But that applies to my entire body. Nothing is working like it used to.

I was given a neurological test a few years ago. I was asked to remember a bunch of words. I still remember some of them. I was recently checked for short-term memory and was given a few words to remember. I still remember them.

I think that making a point of remembering something helps me to remember. Something that casually comes and goes is another matter.

I'm curious about how short-term memories become long-term memories while other short-term memories just fade into oblivion. If short- and long-term memories are in different places in our brain, how does a memory get from one place to another?

Edgar, My cousin was the "absent-minded professor." That never applied to me. What can I tell ya?

ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 02:29 pm
@Roberta,
I've read quite a bit about all this, but of course I forget it..

My own observations that seem to be corroborated by what I sort of remember reading is that the way to get a fact into long term memory is to go over the data several times*. Not so much once or more intensely, but repetitively. (I do know I read an article on this in the last month and probably have it in my Health files, under Brain, heh.) And that's how I memorized back in school days of yore. And it's how I became comfortable years later doing long presentations on gardens and piazzas and yada yada - I'd go over the material, which I already knew in most cases, from either being in the places and/or a lot of research. But as a kid I had public speaking fright, so when I'd do those lectures, I'd go over my materials multiple times, pre the event. Now, about fifteen years later, I still remember a lot of that but in less detail. However, while I kept a goodly biblio of sources, I don't remember where I put it. Kidding, I do, it's somewhere in this room.

Personally, I do have a tendency to review what I've recently learned, but that is often outwitted by my tendency for avoidance behavior.


* In contrast re the/my process of getting new information into my brain pan for more than a second, repetition, I am very different about visual memory.
Not always, but my visual memory seems to me to be quite sticky, and may result from one experience that bores into my memory faster than read or heard facts.

Read facts are in turn faster for me to grasp and stay than are heard facts.
0 Replies
 
Zarathustra
 
  2  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 02:35 pm
@Roberta,
It is not possible to do justice to this subject here but there has been a revolution in research in brain physiology that started in the 1980’s and hasn’t slowed since. We can now watch a participant’s brain through electronic devices and predict what they are thinking! This is certainly within a narrow context (they can’t be thinking of just anything) but it is still stunning, to me anyway.

The piece of information below is one of a bazillion examples (I counted them) that could be listed on what we now know about the brain.

“The neurons excited during an experience are the same as those excited when we remember that experience.” Science October 2008.

“Prof. Fried observed the neural activity in the brains of 13 epilepsy patients, as the patients watched clips from TV shows like Seinfeld and The Simpsons. A short while after, the test subjects were asked to describe what they remembered from the video clips. During recall, the exact same neurons that had fired while viewing a clip fired once again while the subject was recalling it. Soon, the researchers were able to predict what clip the subjects would recall just by looking at the neurons that lit up seconds before the recall experience was vocalized.”

[So one reason you forget things may be because those neurons are busy with new more important things when they are needed to re-fire and produce the memory you wanted to think about. The information is still there but the transmission lines are not connected anymore.]

I will add one more point, while philosophers argue what self is (or maybe I should say “self”), where it “is”, what its “form” “is” (material, spiritual, metaphysical), researchers quietly solved the problem of location three decades ago. “You” are located in the left hemisphere of your brain. If a certain region is damaged you completely lose your sense as an individual human being. Neat huh?

Of course I just made all this up, the only place I go for authoritative info is A2K and Wikipedia! :-)
Zarathustra
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 03:00 pm
@Zarathustra,
Roberta, perhapse this is you?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9yN-6PbqAPM
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 03:41 pm
Even when I was in what I think of as early middle age (40), I had occasional brain glitches in some of my learning. Around that time, I took 4 quarters of plant material classes, learning to visually identify easily over a thousand plants (and that was just for class), giving their latin and common names, and usually knowing a bunch more about them.
Part of that might be connected to where I was first introduced to a plant, ka ding! I could visualize. (Most of us took photos galore.)

But sometimes the connection was messed up. I remember this tree we were shown on Motor Avenue in west Los Angeles. Calodendron capense. It was big and fluffy.
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_EWuR-VzwybY/SwuvZ158hXI/AAAAAAAAC6Y/cF0isROMCec/s400/P1013801.JPG

Almost immediately I couldn't remember the name except that it started with C.
This went on for years, not helped exactly by not seeing more of those. I would try to remember it, as I sometimes used that street in my wanderings. C..... C..

I'd look it up. (Repeat over years).

All these years later, I type the tree name easily, as, I guess, I kept looking it up so much, via all the tree names starting with C in my Sunset Western Garden book, and it finally stuck.

0 Replies
 
Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 04:15 pm
@Zarathustra,
Z, Not me. I don't have a mustache. As for the memory issues, I'm beginning to think I'm compulsive. I always know where my glasses are. Where my keys are. What, where, when, and with whom my next appointment is. (I liked the song.)

I don't remember some new phone numbers. And more often than I care to think, I get up for some reason. I get where I'm going, but I can't remember why I went. My mind is on other things. Like remembering the dagger scene from Macbeth.

The brain is fascinating. Memory is fascinating. How we operate in a mechanical sense is fascinating. Having pictures and words in our heads is fascinating.

osso, Glad the tree with a C is now in your head.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 10 Jan, 2013 04:37 pm
@Roberta,
edit - this was not the same exact tree, which I figure is obvious, but my comment could be taken it was. You know me, I like photographers to get credit, and one can click on that and see where it came from. If I took the photo, I'd be more clear.

I probably have a slide of the exact tree. (Sigh, I have failed to throw my slides out yet.)
0 Replies
 
 

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