Sunday, November 6, 2011

Memory is a weird thing

Something I noticed this morning when I was out walking the dog.  I was listening to a podcast that I had listened to the day before when walking the dog and I was trying to skip through it to get to the ending of the show which I hadn't heard.  As I scrollled through, listening to the fragments of the show, I could remember exactly where I had been in the walk the day before when I had listened to each section.  Exactly where I was.

I could not, however, remember what I was listening to at any given point of the walk.  If I thought about being at a particular corner I was entirely unable to conjure even the faintest idea of what I had heard, but with the story, instantly and effortlessly I knew.

Weird, eh?

Memory of place could be accessed by story, but not story by place.

Our minds are a baffling place.


Beth said...

Baffling and endlessly fascinating.
Very interesting account of the workings of your brain. (All brains?)

Helen said...

Music can take you instantly to a particular place too. And smells apparently.

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

It's kind of scary to think what they would find if they really opened up one of ours and had a peek in. Of course, they would have to invent a can-opener-slash-decoder-ring type of machine first. Things with Riley's teacher haven't really sorted themselves out yet. We will have our first parent/teacher meeting at the end of this month and I'll get to hear more of what she thinks (I think she may hear a thing or two about what I think as well). But after lots of working with Riley I can see that he has some trouble explaining some text using different words (in a second language) when the vocabulary is very theme-specific. There is a lot of that in his grade and in fact, I would struggle to do that too. I am not worried about his progress or abilities, the only thing I am worried is that his teacher has the power to fail him at the end of the year.

J.G. said...

I'm sure neuroscience has a name for this one way connection but, um, I can't remember it just now. :-)

Funny, what's filed next to what in our heads.

oreneta said...

Beth, this seems a replicable experiment, want to give it a go and see if I am a freak or if this is fairly typical?

Helen, it is true, did you ever read Oliver Sacks' Musicology? I think you'd find it fascinating.

Kim, thanks for the update, I was wondering. I'm glad you're not concerned, more a question of getting her onside and getting her finding ways of helping him with this (admittedly rather arbitrary sounding) task.....could she single handedly fail him without any outside testing? Really? I'm not sure it's all that easy to do.

JG, the connection I totally don't have? Smell to language. Some folks, cooks, wine types, perfume makers, can smell something and know what it is. I smell it and haven't a CLUE....unless it's bacon. But maybe I''m wrong with that too.

Beth said...

I'll give it a go - see if it works the same way for me. The more I give it some thought, the more I think it will.
Have also told lots of people about it.