glas0344: March 2012 Archives

Repetition and Memory

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Today's media covers a wide variety of different life challenges and triumphs, one of the more common movie plots seems to be the idea of memory loss and the process of recalling/recovering ones previous experiences. In the movie Unknown (2011), Dr. Martin Harris is the victim of a terrible car accident, and when he comes out of his four day coma he remembers only, "bits and pieces" of what happened. Dr. Harris is aware of who he is, as well as his wife's name and why he is in Germany as well as other details including his coworkers name and office number, but surprisingly not his wife's phone number. I believe that Dr. Harris can remember his coworker's number because they have been in contact for quite some time, and he has hand dialed his number on numerous occasions. Whereas, his wife's number is likely to be set as a speed dial, and he would not have to know the numbers. This might be seen as a stretch, but after thinking about this, I asked a few friends and they can recall more numbers of old friends because they had to dial them, then they could of their siblings, parents or more recent friends. I know this to be true of myself too. Why can we retain the numbers of childhood friends better than that of those we call most often? Due to the brains ability to retain long term memory for years, or decades, we remember the childhood numbers because most of us did not have cell phones and had to physically press the buttons whereas now all one has to do is type in the name of friend XYZ, hit call and that is it. The actual number is only typed in once upon adding it as a contact, rather than every time you want to talk. The repetition of dialing the numbers years ago put these digits in our long term memory, as for the newer numbers, they are only saved to short term memory and my only be remembered long enough to enter them into ones contact list.

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