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Repeated remembering 'wipes similar memories'

Hilander

Free Spirit
Staff member
V.I.P.
I thought this was interesting. If you keep thinking about something a similar memory could be wiped out. We are not just pushing something out of our heads when we put something new in either. The brain seems to think the memories we use more often are more important. Which usually they are.

Repeated remembering 'wipes similar memories'

Now I know what is wrong with me sometimes, my hard drive is full. Seriously though sometimes I will remember something that has been wiped out for years after something happens to bring that memory back. Then I can't believe I forgot that. So really it wasn't wiped out just suppressed.

However there are times people will ask me if I remember something and for the life of me I can't remember it. For me its like it never happened.

How about you?
 

The_Chameleon

Grandmaster
Most of what I remember, I remember with good detail. My long term memory is quite good, but my short term memory is... what was I talking about again? ... Oh yeah.

I most clearly remember intense moments. They stand out because they are unusual. My problem is trying to remember when things happen. Something could happen a week ago, or months ago, and unless it occurred close to a holiday or some other significant time marker, I couldn't tell you how long ago it happened. The subconscious mind stores and categorizes information using a system based on perceived relevance to survival and well being, not chronology. That is often why it takes time and effort to remember an event unless an event with similar characteristics reminds you of it.


The conscious mind stores the events of the day chronologically. The conversion process for long term storage occurs when we dream, and most dreams are part of the prioritization checks that allow the subconscious to categorize memories for quick access when relevant situations arise. In a sense, you become like a rat in a maze, being experimented on by your own subconscious to see what's really most important to you. I've long found it remarkable the similarities between how computers and people process information, and am similarly intrigued at how these similarities are so commonly overlooked. I guess it's an ego thing. People just don't like to compare themselves to machines. They feel dehumanized by the idea, I guess. I personally embrace my mechanical nature and try to nurture it, within reason.



- Cham
 

Smelnick

Creeping On You
V.I.P.
That's an interesting concept, but I haven't noticed it happen yet. I have an extremely vivid and detailed memory. Almost eidetic, but I don't have all the things that define it. I can remember pretty much everything that's happened to me. If someone asked me to write an autobiography, I could give you a month by month account of my life since i was like 5. I can remember what time of year things happened and what not because i can remember what the weather was like while it was happening, weather it was winter, summer etc. Its like a movie in my head. Its not like I can remember 'oh on march 25th, 2003, this happened, However, I can recount what was going on in my life during the spring of 2003. Once I do that, I can remember specific instances, that lead me to remember more and more details. Its why I rarely lose things because I literally remember the last time I used something and exactly where I put it and what not.
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
I read a study recently that says science shows that we don't actually store memories, they are created on the fly. There is no file cabinet or hard drive like we think. 30 years ago I was riding a yellow bike on Elm street and ran over a brown snake. In the 30 years since that has happened, I created that memory every time I thought about it. So in reality I may have been riding a red bike on Main street and ran over a yellow snake. That memory that I just pulled up was a copy of the original and even though I am sure its accurate, it may not be.
The cool thing is as we create these memories, we can replace them or erase them. So, the research is trying to help people with PTSD. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind turns out to be a reality.
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
-----------------------------------
That's really cool Smelnick. I used to be really good at remembering like that but over the years, the connections start to fade unfortunately.
 

The_Chameleon

Grandmaster
I read a study recently that says science shows that we don't actually store memories, they are created on the fly. There is no file cabinet or hard drive like we think. 30 years ago I was riding a yellow bike on Elm street and ran over a brown snake. In the 30 years since that has happened, I created that memory every time I thought about it. So in reality I may have been riding a red bike on Main street and ran over a yellow snake. That memory that I just pulled up was a copy of the original and even though I am sure its accurate, it may not be.
The cool thing is as we create these memories, we can replace them or erase them. So, the research is trying to help people with PTSD. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind turns out to be a reality.
I would challenge the research that says we manufacture memories upon contemplating them. For memories to be generated as you suggest, there must be some core data that the brain works from. My own research suggest that our brains create a trail of breadcrumbs, key pieces of the puzzle from which the rest can be interpolated, and some peoples memories contain more of these proverbial breadcrumbs than others, allowing for greater detail. I can describe in substantial detail the house I spent my teens growing up in, my best friends house, and numerous details of the neighborhood and my personal belongings and specific events from that period of my life. Details which most other people would be hard pressed about their own life over 20 years ago.

I can remember, with absolute certainty, the type and color of every bike I've ever owned and where I rode it the most. (And I've owned quite a few). I'm sure if I dug long enough through my photo album (which I haven't looked at since the pictures were taken) I could prove any of those details to be accurate. Meanwhile, while I was writing, I momentarily forgot the original topic. Haha!


The way we remember things is the most effective system given how we see things (visually). Our eyes only have a narrow central view area that is in clear focus, and the rest of our field of view is perceived with very low detail. Our brains must make sense of our surroundings by moving our eyes strategically and quickly mapping what it considers to be important details, then, also very quickly, interpolating the points in between for form a mental image of what is around us. Interpolative vision, interpolative memory. It just makes sense. Part of memory is also associative though, where more symbolic or abstract idea linkages are used to simulate lost or insufficient "breadcrumbs". Because of this ability, memory is plastic and can be manipulated. The more breadcrumbs are mapped during the formation of the memory, and the more relevant the subconscious considers it to be to survival and well being, the less plastic the memory will be.



- Cham
 
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