Human memory

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by strantor, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. strantor

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    I have noticed that there is a very high degree of inconsistency in my memory. I can remember every detail of the places (there were a lot of places) that I lived as a very small child. My mother was astounded recently when I drew the floor plan, including furniture placement of an apartment that we moved out of when I was 18 months old. I seem to have very strong memories from my early childhood. Then my adolescent years are more blurry. Sometimes I will be reminded of big events that I totally forgot about. For example, my sister, 4 years younger than I, reminded me of when my grandmother had a stroke while she was babysitting us around age 13, and I called 911 and sat by her side. I had totally forgotten that, and when she reminded me, only a very vague glimmer of a memory returned. It may not have been a memory at all; perhaps only a reconstruction from the details my sister gave me.

    Even as recently as 5 years ago, I have deleted memories. I was talking to a guy I served with, and he was asking about some guy that was in my division (a division of 8 people, not a crowd) in 2008. I thought he must be mistaken because I did not remember anyone by that name. My friend gave me plenty of stories that linked me to the guy in question; for example, I was called to testify at his captain's mast (similar to a trial) when he got in trouble. I remember standing in the passageway waiting to go into a captain's mast. I remember it because everybody who walked by me asked what I was going to mast for, and I had to explain that I was only a witness. That memory had resurfaced recently, and I could not remember why I was involved in a mast. Then my friend filled in the gap for me, but I still do not remember this guy. I served with him for 6 months or more, as recently as 5 years ago, and he has been totally wiped from my memory.

    I also didn't remember travelling home when I got out of the Navy. I had a digital album of pictures (maybe a dozen pics) of the trip home, mostly of scenery, and one of my u-haul truck with trailer towing my car. I remember driving home alone. Then my mother was reminiscing about travelling home with me. I asked what on earth she was talking about. She told me that she and my sisters and brother drove to Virginia, helped me pack, and made the voyage home with me. I called B.S., and the she showed me HER album, including my u-haul, with a bunch of pics of me and my siblings posing at various landmarks along the way. I could not believe it. Even looking at the pictures, there was no "spark" that brought any memories back. It was creepy, looking at pics of something I had absolutely no memory of, from ~4 years ago. It felt as if someone else was behind the wheel of my body then, and I don't have access to his memories. This was, or would have been, a fond memory, so I don't know why my mind would have suppressed it.

    This makes me think that I might have some kind of problem. But, I just wanted to see if any of you have experienced anything like this.
     
  2. Georacer

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    Nov 25, 2009
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    Most people remember their childhood more vividly than their recent past.

    I, too, cannot recollect some scenes and events from highschool (9-6 years ago) that other people tell me about, for example. But what you talk about sounds more profound.

    I don't know if it constitutes a problem or not and I don't even know if there's a doctor for that.
     
  3. spinnaker

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    There are lots of people I will see at work that know me by name but not only don't I know their name, I don't ever remember meeting them. We probably met once at some meeting a few years ago and they remembered me. I do work for a a huge company and have probably worked with several hundred people over the years.

    But I also have a problem with faces sometimes. Unless I see someone often I have great difficulty in remembering who they are even after realizing I know their name after finally recognizing them.

    But I really scared myself yesterday. I got up in the morning and for some reason thought it was Saturday. I of course did not go to work. It was later in the morning till I realized my mistake. I called my boss and told him I had car trouble. No problem.


    Probably the most significant event in my childhood is when they closed my grandmother's casket at the funeral. I remember like it happened yesterday. We we ushered into another room but the doorway was left open. I remember looking into the other room, watching the casket being closed.

    In general the memories I cherish the most was baking cookies with my mom and her reading to me and my brother and singing with us at night. She was (still is) a good mom.

    Smells, sounds, similar events will bring back memories. There are things that I will see and an old childhood memory will come flashing back.
     
  4. gerty

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    Strange timing..Not 2 hours ago my wife was going through some old pictures.
    She found one with one of my sons playing with 2 dogs, we both remembered one of the dogs, but not the other. My son was here at the time and he remembered both dogs.
    Stranger yet, the dog was a yellow Lab, my son said the dogs name was Nick. we now have a yellow Lab (female) we named her
    Niki..:eek:
     
  5. spinnaker

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    I think your son is gas lighting you. He photoshopped the picture and planted it in the batch. He wants to have mom and op commited so he can collect your vast fortune. :)
     
  6. gerty

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    He may have a problem with that...I'm in the anti-vast fortune mode, and I'll be here for the duration...Jokes on him :D
     
  7. maxpower097

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    Feb 20, 2009
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    Honestly as other have said you earliest memories will be most vivid because theirs not that much too remember. As you get older and more memories they blend and sometimes blur. But what your talking about goes beyond that I feel. I honestly would talk to my Dr. about it. Possible a CT scan to make sure everythings all good. If their is something wrong you want to catch it ASAP. Thats my own personal advice.

    PS have you ever had any head injuries? Concussions? anything like that?
     
  8. strantor

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    Never had any head injuries, but 2 years ago I had some sort of episode in the middle of the night. Woke up with my jaw chomping up and down involuntarily for ~ 10sec. Actually it was more like my jaw was rigid and my head was chomping down onto my jaw. Seemed like how people describe a seizure, except I was conscious through the whole thing, and remembered it. I said I would go to the doctor if it happened again, and it never did. Went through a bad spat of migraines a few months ago and went to see a neurologist. While I was there I mentioned the episode and described it in detail. The neurologist said it probably wasn't a seizure, but ran an MRI and EKG to be safe, and both came back normal. So my head has been checked out and I *assume* if there were anything out of place in there, someone would have noticed.
     
  9. spinnaker

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    I think you may have been bitten by sheldons (see avatar). :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2013
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  10. mcgyvr

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    As you are growing older you are becoming more of an a-hole and care less and less about the world and people around you and as such you don't remember because you didn't care... wait what were we talking about..
     
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  11. Brownout

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    That's pretty weird. A psychologist would way you repressed those memories.

    Funny, i remember things that happened when I was a baby. I can recall events accurately that I shouldn't be able to. My theory is that I dremed about those events until I was old enough to remember them.
     
  12. #12

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    Theory: A lot of early memories are well preserved because they contain important lessons. The older you get, the more mundane day to day life gets. I can't remember what I ate yesterday because it carries no valuable information and has no emotional tag.
     
  13. amilton542

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    Nov 13, 2010
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    The significance of any event shall generate memory. After I've sat an exam, I can recall all questions and workings-out then I'm like, "Oh no, why did I put that down for!?" It was the significance of the event.

    Treat yourself to a bit of cheese-on-crackers followed by a can of lager before bedtime and watch how well you can recall the crazy dream you'll have.
     
  14. THE_RB

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    Weird! I remember exactly what I ate yesterday, for each meal and at which times. Also details of what work I did, what TV shows I watched etc. You should have a pretty good idea of anything you did recently.

    Now if you asked me what I ate 12 months ago, that's a different story.

    Human memory is dynamic, ie needs to be refreshed. With important things we rehash it in our minds often, and think about it from time to time so it becomes "permanent". Less important things (like what I ate 30 days ago) don;t get refreshed and are lost forever.

    It's perfectly normal for everyone to have forgotten >99% of everything that ever happened to you, the <1% you remember are the very important things you have constantly refreshed by repeatedly thinking about it.
     
  15. spinnaker

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    There are people that can remember every detail of their life. Even what the temperature was on a given date and what they had to eat the day. It is kind of freaky but I thing it shows what the mind is capable of storing. It is just the recall that is an issue with average people.

    I heard it said that, it is OK to forget where your keys are but if you start forgetting what your keys are for, that is time to start to worry. :)
     
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  16. THE_RB

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    That's not really true. People with ability like that are usually autistic savants, with damaged brains so their brain is locked in "refresh mode" constantly hammering away refreshing useless details 24 hours a day. Did you see the "Rainman" documentary?

    It can give an extraordinay memory boost, but at the sacrifice of just about all other mental performance. As a computer programmer I can imagine the basic fault; its like a computer with a bug, instead of doing normal tasks processing data etc it's locked in a buggy loop just cramming everything into memory and trying not to let anything out of memory, and trying to use all available resources as "extra memory".
     
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  17. Brownout

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    What a juxtiposition of posts:


     
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  18. DerStrom8

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    I have some very vivid memories from when I was a child. I was two years old when my little sister was born, and I still remember staying with my grandmother, and going to see my mom at the hospital. I even remember one time when I was being carried by someone, so I must have been VERY young (<1 year). But I discovered that over the years, my memory degraded significantly, which is natural anyway, I guess. You might find this video interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LyCC6jjcx8
    The second half is the best.

    Anyway, I've had problems with excessive memory loss over the past ten or twenty years, which I attribute to my frequent/constant use of modern technology (computers, primarily). I read in a psychology journal that multitasking forces the visual phenomena to completely skip over the hippocampus and other memory-processing centers of the brain, and go straight to the visual cortex (or something like that--I'm just rattling off what I remember :p). Anyway, since it skips the part of your brain that creates memories, you are unable to form them properly and suffer from memory loss. I know I've been doing a lot of multitasking, often brought about by computer usage, so I would not be surprised if that's my problem. It might play a role in yours too, who knows?

    Matt
     
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  19. THE_RB

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    Hehehe! OK, while I'm enjoying the comedic irony as much as you, it is normal for a healthy mind to have a good grasp of short term events as those memories have not had time to fade yet.

    But still hanging on to memories that should normally have faded and been replaced would indicate some excessive refreshing is going on. For instance if someone could perfectly list all their meals from the last 15 days that is not a short term memory that has not faded yet, but instead must have been refreshed, indicating use of resources to refresh meaningless data.

    I'm still surprised that people cannot remember what they ate or did the day before! Short term memory disfunction like that is often a sign of excess stress, ie the mind is locked into computing worry scenarios and general memory suffers as a result. Excluding sleep deprivation and drug use etc.
     
  20. strantor

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    I remember what I ate yesterday. Because I didn't finish it, and I just saw it in the fridge with saran wrap on it.
     
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