March 2012 Archives

Why is the battle of the bulge so hard to win? One answer to this question maybe a person's set point. A set point is a person's range of body fat and muscle mass they tend to maintain. So when people try to eat less the set point increases a person's appetite and decreases their metabolism not allowing them to lose weight. An obese person has a set point that is much higher than a thin person. Another reason the battle of the bulge may seem impossible for some people is their genetic makeup. In some cases of obesity a mutation in the melanocortin-4 receptor gene occurs. This causes a person to never feel full regardless of how much they have eaten. scale.jpg The Restaurant Industry also has played a role in the increasing obesity rates in the United States. Portion sizes served in restaurants are over 25% larger now than they were in 1977. A heuristic known as the Unit Bias causes people to eat more food when more food is given to them. With all of these causes of obesity is it still possible to stay fit these days? The answer is yes, and here are some helpful tips. First eat food on a smaller plate, this will make the portions look larger and help you eat less. Also when looking for a diet or weight loss plan avoid the ones that guarantee extraordinary weight loss in a short period of time. These plans are usually not very effective. Find a plan that helps you change your everyday habits and makes exercise a part of your daily routine. I am interested to hear what other people think of this topic. Do you think genetics carries the majority of the blame for obesity, or is it a person's habits? Also what do you think is the most effective way to become fit?

When I think back to my childhood I realize, "Wow, I did watch a lot of television and movies." With all the new technology that has arrived since I've reached my teenage years, it seems as if we never did focus as much on electronics as younger kids do today. This is quite wrong though. As I think back to the different things I used to watch, and the way they affected me, I do really realize how television did change my childhood.
tumblr_l61mmzPI4p1qcgtvuo1_400.jpg

The most common and practical thing that television would take away is physical activity. This has obviously not changed for children at all and potentially has gotten even worse. Many theories of childhood obesity revolve around the use of technology such as television, video games, and the internet. A study done on this topic shows that their results were in fact showing that amount of time spent in front of television did change the body shape and size of children.

So we can ask the question, are children just missing out on health benefits? Or are there other things that will vary from child to child, with each adolescent missing out on something in life?

(blog for missing discussion 3/29)

When I think back to my childhood I realize, "Wow, I did watch a lot of television and movies." With all the new technology that has arrived since I've reached my teenage years, it seems as if we never did focus as much on electronics as younger kids do today. This is quite wrong though. As I think back to the different things I used to watch, and the way they affected me, I do really realize how television did change my childhood.
tumblr_l61mmzPI4p1qcgtvuo1_400.jpg

The most common and practical thing that television would take away is physical activity. This has obviously not changed for children at all and potentially has gotten even worse. Many theories of childhood obesity revolve around the use of technology such as television, video games, and the internet. A study done on this topic shows that their results were in fact showing that amount of time spent in front of television did change the body shape and size of children.

So we can ask the question, are children just missing out on health benefits? Or are there other things that will vary from child to child, with each adolescent missing out on something in life?

Liberal-vs-Conservative-Simpsons-300x288.jpg
Image from Desk of Brian

Why exactly is it that liberals and conservatives don't seem to understand each other? Is one side just deluded? This NY Times article about social psychologist Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion offers up his perspective: they simply have different moral foundations.

In his book, Haidt begins by pointing out that emotions guide most of what we do, since scans of the brain show that we make decisions extremely quickly. With this in mind, Haidt says that there are a few major concepts that underscore different styles of morality: care, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and sanctity.

Clashes result from which ones are emphasized: liberals put a lot of weight on care, fairness, and liberty, while conservatives place more emphasis on loyalty, authority, and sanctity. This can cause fierce battles, but despite the way they fight, neither side is right or wrong, says Haidt - they're just different.

HL7UD00Z.jpg

I think this framework does a decent job at explaining the core differences between liberals and conservatives. Being a liberal person who comes from a traditionally conservative family, I can say that I often do reject reasoning based on loyalty, authority, and sanctity, and that this is often where disagreements - whether on abortion rights, religion, relationships, or any number of issues - tend to stem from.

In a hopeful conclusion, Haidt notes that there is a simple way for these two moral schemes to peacefully coexist: listen, and compromise. Instead of engaging in cutthroat, vicious politics, we should take into account alternate views and settle for a midpoint. I like this idea, although I'm unsure how realistic it is. In a world where sound bytes and stereotyping characterize politics, peaceful consensus is a challenge.

ying_yangredblue.png

When looking at friends or family who have differing political views, does Haidt's theory seem to bear out for you, or do you think it is lacking in some way? Do you think compromise is possible in today's fierce political environment? Given that most Americans are not as politically polarized as the media makes things seem, does this change your opinion at all?

Parents all around the U.S. are spending their money on baby videos that help their children learn at a younger age while some parents won't allow their children to have any type of screen time. Video's such as Alphabet Beats and Barney are stereotyped to accelerate knowledge development.

Here is an example of the video we have all heard of Baby Einstein:

baby_einstein.gif

According to Psyc Central and Science Time tests have been done that show these movies are not developing knowledge at faster rate then those children that do not watch them. The two main reasons they are said to be ineffective is because the movies are over stimulating to the brain and no social interaction. The studies showed that children who watched them scored lower on their language tests then the children who were never exposed to them. If this research has been posted then why are people still buying them? After reading these articles and looking more into these topic I agree with what the researchers have found. Not just with these videos but all videos are not benefiting humans by any means. Screen time only entertains our brains not strengthen it. I feel that everyone in today's world has become to dependent on screen time for learning and just helping out with every part of our daily lives.

psych 1.jpg

Do you think these learning videos are a benefit to growing children? Are these videos actually hurting the development of children's brains? How do you know what too much screen time is for children? Does this mean that the world has become more stupid since screen time is such a big part of our life?

Mind, consciousness, soul

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

There are many people who claim to believe in the human "soul", which is supposedly an entity that is our deeper self, something of us that survives after death somehow, even after our brains stop working all together. But with our increasing understanding of how the mind works and what consciousness is, can such a notion survive (and be taken seriously)? There seems to be a trend of referring to some ethereal, "nonmaterial" entity that is supposed to be the soul, but that trend can only be restricted as our knowledge grows deeper and deeper into the human mind. We used to consider mental phenomenon as its own thing, and so the notion of a soul was not in danger. But now we know that the mind is basically the activity of the brain, which is purely physical. Anybody trying to refer to "soul" as anything more than poetic license must now differentiate that from what is usually called mind, since we know we can alter the mind by altering the brain. Even personality is not totally stable, as can be seen from extreme cases of brain damage. What then is the soul, if anything? The notion gets pushed back and back, made less and less connected to the actual human being. Perhaps the soul is simply "consciousness". But what is that? If it is not mind, which changes as a person changes, and not personality, which also can change, then is it anything at all?

brain_consciousness.jpg

What do you believe about the idea of a "soul"? Does it exist? What is it? If you believe in it, how does it interact with the mind and with physical reality, and how do you reconcile that with the modern understanding of brain-based consciousness?

Heaven is For Real

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

The New York Time's best selling book Heaven Is For Real is about a four year old boy named Colton, who went to heaven while he was in surgery after a burst appendix. Skeptical? So was I.
His parents say that they at first didn't want to entertain the little boy's stories, but three things convinced them that they were true.
1.He know where his father was and what he was doing while he was being operated on.
2.He came back with knowledge of meeting his miscarried sibling, who he had no prior knowledge of.
3.He claimed to have met his great-grandfather, and could identify pictures of him when he was a young man.
His parents claim that there is no way he could have known any of these things, so therefore his story must be true. As a skeptical person, I would have still said this story isn't true, but some of the things I learned in psychology are going to help me say that. First: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I do not consider the testimony of a four year old extraordinary evidence, especially after learning about the shortcomings of memory in chapter 7. As we learned, children very susceptible to suggestions, as shown with the example of "Sam Stone." Children also have a hard time telling which memories are real, and which are false. Besides that, everyone's memory is susceptible to false memories!
Here is where the story gets fishy. Colton's father, who was the one who wrote the book, is a preacher. Colton was raised in a very religious household, with Bible stories being told to him every night before bed. Colton claims to have seen the Holy Spirit "shoot down" power to his dad preaching to their congregation while sitting in Jesus's lap. First thing, his father didn't preach at all while Colton was in the hospital. Second, Christian doctrine says that the Holy Spirit resides within a person, not in heaven.
Here are some more inconsistencies:
Colton describes details of what Jesus looked like, including the nail marks in his hands and feet. It is well known that Romans drove nails through the wrists during crucifixion, not the hands, which wouldn't have held up the weight of a body. When shown pictures of Jesus and asked which one looked most like him, he identified Akiane Kramarik's portrait of Jesus with blue eyes called "Prince of Peace". princeofpeace13_thumb1.jpg He chose a popular image of Jesus, not a more accurate one of a man with more middle-eastern looking descent. He story also fell to popular conceptions of heaven, like the pearly gate. He described a golden gate, with many pearls on it. The only description the Bible has of pearly gates is seven gates made of a single pearl, no gold.
I could pick on more things, I am only going to keep it to two more. First, Colton never died while he was in the hospital, he claims to have gone to heaven while he was in surgery. If he had died we could explain his story as a near-death experience, the result of endorphins overwhelming the brain. Next, his stories came about over the next few years, not right after his "experience." Occam's Razor: Is it simpler to believe that Colton went to heaven, or that he is experiencing false memories created by phenomenas like the misinformation effect?

My parents raised me to be a great person with a mix of different formulas. Sometimes I would get praise for doing something good and other times I would get punished for, say not returning home before curfew. But what is the best way of raising your child? Diana Baumrind's work has led us to establish three main classes of parenting styles: Permissive, authoritarian and authoritative. Permissive parents are the softies. Their children have a great deal of freedom, hardly and punishment, and a great deal of affection. Authoritarian parents are the "mean" ones. They are very strict and tend to show little affection. Authoritative parents are the best! They set a happy median between the two styles and usually lead their children through a very happy and stable life.
13750_221377515055_117732700055_4639112_114970_n.jpg
Another category of parenting is uninvolved where parents tend to totally neglect their children's positive or negative behaviors. None the less parenting is a very difficult concept and can be a very hard challenge. Many generations have shaped these styles but it is up to the individual in what to do. So how do you think parents should raise their children? Should it be different in different circumstances or just universal for everyone? There are many parenting books out there today but only real-life experience enlightens the best parenting.

bilingual.jpgIn full disclosure, I am a staunch advocate of learning a foreign language. The topic of foreign language learning, immersion teaching in particular, has long been very fascinating to me. As someone who has studied and worked abroad, I greatly understand the practical benefits of knowing a second language but what has escaped my radar until recently are the cognitive benefits of being bilingual. Ch. 8 in the Lilienfeld text dabbled into these cognitive benefits. For a more robust understanding, check out this NYT article.

For sake of brevity, here are a few reasons from Lilienfeld and the NYT article why exposure to a second language before & after the critical period for language acquisition is so dang important:

1. Heightened metalinguistic insight -- this insight will be a friend that keeps on giving. You may think you know English now but it's amazing how much we don't know about the structure of our own language. Learning a second language has actually helped me better understand the finer details of my own native language.

2. Improvement of executive functions in the brain -- this includes planning, problem solving, and performing other mentally demanding tasks.

3. Brain efficiency -- executing demanding tasks uses less activity in the associated parts of the brain for bilinguals.

4. Increased resistance to dementia and Alzheimer's Disease -- a study found that the higher the degree of bilingualism, the later the onset of symptoms.

So here's my question: Why on Earth do American schools, with the exception of immersion, start incorporating foreign language education AFTER the critical period of language acquisition? It's clear that American students are having a harder time competing on a global scale with others. Wouldn't this be a step in the right direction?

Critical period of language acquisition aside, it never hurts to learn a new language. Do these proven practical and cognitive benefits motivate you to pursue learning a foreign language? Can you think of other benefits, besides the ones listed above, to learn a new language?


Last week, we debated the effect of violent video games on behavior. The discussions were centered on if prolonged exposure to such games negatively impact one's behavior causing the user to become more aggressive and prone to hostile crime. This is clearly a current hot topic, but like computational analyst Joshua Lewis remarks, "There has been a lot of attention wasted in figuring out whether these things turn us into killing machines." Lewis, of the University of California, San Diego who has studied 2,000 computer game players, further states, "Not enough attention has been paid to the unique and interesting features that videogames have outside of the violence."

So what features is Lewis referring to? Well, multiple research studies referenced in the article "When Gaming is Good for You" of the Wall Street Journal, indicate that gaming improves creativity, decision-making and perception. One specific study researched 491 middle school students over a three year period found that "the more children played computer games the higher their scores on a standardized test of creativity."

Blog 3.jpg

A world featuring the juxtaposition of trained killing machines and creative geniuses develops in my mind. I ask you to imagine that both sets of research are found completely conclusive. That is, it is completely proven that violent video games cause at least some migration to aggressive behavior in the user. However the activity also trains one to make "decisions 25% faster than others without sacrificing accuracy" and "act on them up to six times a second--four times faster than most people." Does this change your outlook on the effects of gaming? Why or why not?

Parenting Styles

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

I got interested on Diana Baumrind's research on parenting styles. Her classification was based on two important aspects: parental responsiveness, which refers to the degree the parent responds to the child's needs and parental demandingness, which is the extent to which the parent expects more mature and responsible behavior from the child. Using these two dimensions, she identified three different parenting styles: Authoritarian, Permissive and Authoritative. A fourth style of parenting was added by Maccoby and Martin: Uninvolved or Neglectful parenting. The picture below should give you a better understanding of the different parenting styles.
3-parenting-styles-model-diana-baumrind.jpg
It is said that Baumrind favored the authoritative parenting style and found the authoritarian parenting style as too strict and permissive parenting style as too soft. Authoritraian parents are more likely to raise disrespectful, delinquent children. Did you know that procrastination is also associated with parenting? Children with demanding parents might learn to avoid tasks, rather than risking failure. I, personally, would support authoritative parenting style. I could be be biased because my parents followed that style. I am pretty sure they weren't aware of this research then. But I would say that that style of parenting has put me in the right track of discipline giving me the freedom to choose or do what I want and at the same time to be well within my limits.


chickenparentingstyle.jpg
Cultural effects play a major role in parenting. For example, while permissive parenting has made adolescents to engage in self-destructive activities in America; in Spain, the same parenting style is associated with strong academic performance. Uninvolved parenting has a whole different level of impact on the children.

It would be interesting to see how the different parenting styles have influenced each of us this this class. What parenting style did you grow up in? Do you think that your character matches with the parenting style you grew up under? If you are already a parent, what parenting style do you follow? Or when you become a parent what parenting style would you likely follow, now that you know the different parenting styles?

Memory chunks

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

This week in lecture we learned that 7 plus or minus 2 chunks is the "magic" number our short term memory would be able to store. Although what we consider chunks changes from person to person because of how people remember things. Some may remember certain strings of numbers as possible dates while others only remember the individual numbers themselves making their chunks considerably less than the other persons. How we initially end up making our chunks is unique to the person themselves because how we group or remember things is often really personal because of life experiences and upbringing. Chunking only increases the amount of time you are able to remember in the short term but anything longer than that and it won't help. An example of this from the reading is a string of 15 letters and trying to remember as many as possible.
CIAUSFBINBCJFK
The average amount of letters people would get would be from 5-9 but by using chunks most Americans could remember easily because the first three are FBI which is an agency, the next chunk would be US which is United States, the third chunk could be CIA because its another agency, the fourth chunk is NBC a popular news channel and finally JFK one of our presidents. This is an easy example of memory chunks but again each person is of their own personal style.

Nick Berg

TV, computers and video games are deeply entrenched in modern life but what effect does all this screen time have on how children develop?
TV jpg

One thing is clear, screen time is sedentary behavior and too much can replace the physical activity necessary for children to grow healthy and maintain normal weight.
sedentary jpg

Less clear are the cognitive and emotional effects on development. A recent NY Times article reports on recomendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics to limit the screen time of children.


TV Limits for Children Urged by American Academy of Pediatrics - NYTimes.com.pdf

In class you will be investigating the influence of video games on aggressive behavior of children but there are several other concerns parents may have about their children's viewing habits.

For example, television often portrays males and females in gender-stereotyped ways. As you watch clips from Barney and Power Rangers in lab you may also want to think about what influence these portrayals likely have on the development of gender identity and gender role awareness in children?

Certain shows might influence gender identity but often commercials play up gender stereotypes even more.

A recent study estimates that children 4-11 years old spend on average 2-4 hours a day in front of a some type of electronic screen.

A question we might ask is "What are children missing out on while watching television?"

Can you imagine life without TV or video games? What would you have done during your childhood and adolescence with the time you spent watching television? Would you have turned out any different?

Am I forgetting something?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

alzheimers-April-2011.jpg

Chances are that most of us have heard of Alzheimer's disease before, and we may know a family member who suffers from the terrible disease. A startling statistic shows that Alzheimer's is the "fourth leading cause of death for those over 65. By the year 2040 an estimated 14 million will be living with the disease" ().

I personally find Alzheimer's to be a very interesting disease from a medical standpoint not only because it's found most often in older/senior adults, but because it's not caused by and bacteria or virus, but instead a plaque and protein buildup that's made inside the brain. Two or three hypothesis of how Alzheimer's disease originates have come about.
The first hypothesis is that of amyloid plaque. When amyloid is found in large quantities it will undergo a conformational change to accommodate the large number of molecules. However, if there are numerous amyloid's present then this conformation change results in the formation of a plaque which is made up of "mostly insoluble deposits of protein and cellular material outside and around neurons" These massive formations of amyloid are thought to be synthesized and cause a disruption of the brains "calcium ion homeostasis" and thus lead to cell death (which would be why we would see much darker almost completely occluded spots on an MRI of a patient with Alzeheimer's than of a brain scan of a normal brain).

There is another protein located in the brain that has been shown to be a contributor of Alzheimer's Disease. This protein is called "Tau." Tau's main function in a healthy brain is the stabilization of the brains cytoskeleton. However, the hypothesis is that when Tau is over synthesized, or even under-synthesized, as it is in a person with Alzheimer's disease, Tau itself causes a buildup and "tangles" neurons or collapses them. Unfortunately for your brain, this tangling/collapsing causes your neurons not to fire correctly. This improper firing causes the signs/symptoms that are well known with this disease: memory loss, learning, thinking and reasoning disabilities.

Researchers are having a difficult time with advancements on how to treat Alzheimer's disease because our brains are encased in what's called a "Blood Brain Barrier" which allows only very specific hormones and blood regulation through. Recent research at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester has biochemists attempting to engineer proteins that will be able to pass through our BBB and attach itself specifically to the amyloid/senile plaque areas so that scientists can image the areas via MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
In time, the Mayo Clinic also hopes it will be able to engineer a vaccine that will cease the amyloid/senile plaques from forming clumps in the brain.

1. Do you know of someone struggling with this terrible disease?
2. Did you find any of this information to be insightful?

big brain

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

"Brain cells fire in patterns" - the 5 words from steven pinker point out that in our brains, the neuron is king. Neurons are not large, powerful, or individually all that capable. When neurons form networks with adaptive connections, however, they begin to accomplish extraordinary things like adaptive thought, learning, and emotion - things that if one were introduced to the concept of a neuron without ever knowing about their role in the brain, one would never suspect them capable of achieving.

neurons.jpg

The technological proliferation of smartphones, computers, and data-connected devices over the last decade has altered the basic capability of millions of members of our society in a way that may make it possible for individual humans to connect with one another at a level never before achieved - technology is becoming the neurotransmitter between the synapses of our lives. With the network that has been built, every technology-enabled person is now a single link in a broad chain of people, ideas, and information that can flash around the globe in an instant.

smartphone-on-bus1.jpg

Compared to a single neuron, every human is capable of astonishingly more in comparison. Yet now it is apparent that we have not yet taken advantage of the emergent capabilities of our species. To remedy this, every company from IBM to Oracle to Amazon is putting data online and making it more readily accessible. Facebook, Twitter, and review sites like Angie's list are doing the same with people. As siri replaces Google replaces maps and books replaces word of mouth we collectively slash the time it takes to obtain critical information. Do you think it's possible that humans will be like the pieces of a large brain some day? Do you think that day has already come? What changes would such an a phenomenon have on our lives?

This video is an interesting case of the network of human knowledge on the internet creating globally emergent changes.

london.jpgthe city of London at night

CH4:Visual perception

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

In chapter 4, Sensation &perception, there were a lot of different concepts about how our senses and brain are related and how they processed. Among them, 'the visual system (visual perception) of our body' is the most interesting part for me which arouse my attention. Our eyes seem to function a lot as we live, and they really do. However, it is really easy to deceive our eyes more than we thought. For the basic example, we do not distinct colors easily when we suddenly see the bright lights after get out in the dark. It's because of rods and cones of our eyes which allow us to distinguish low levels of lights and also the colors. Other than this example, there are numerous ways to deceive our eyes only using by editing lines or visual effects. In addition, our eyes do not recognize not only the visual pictures on the plane paper, but also the motions in three-dimensional in our lives. In discussion class, we concluded that the most optical illusions are the result of influence of background patterns on the overall design, adjustment of our perception at the boundaries of areas, our inability to interpret the spatial structure of an object from the context, and so on. Through these concepts, I recognized that there might be a lot of things that I do not see exactly what's there in the world. Everyone might think that they see the things right, but they actually don't, which is the funniest part of this section. And lastly, the picture at the top is one example about deceive visual perception that I took in trick art museum, and rest of the examples at the bottom is other examples from other websites.

Untitled.jpg

You can go from corner A to corner B by climbing the stairs or by going around a level plane.

Untitled.jpg2.jpg

The squares labeled A and B are the same shade of gray.

I just saw this online - I've already done all the blog posts I need but I figured I might as well put it up.

It's an article in the New York Times about how Chimps and Humans differ when solving puzzles - SPOILER ALERT: we cooperate, they don't

Here's the story


As human beings when we pass the age of 65, we begin to face memory problems and brain degeneration. One of these degenerations is a disease call Alzheimer which causes memory loss and intellectual decline.


The risk for Alzheimer's disease is:

13% for those over 65 years of age
42% percent for those over 85 years of age


Today, a treatment to stop or at best reverse the disease DOES NOT EXIST. We only have treatments to slow its progression.

The following list shows things that you can incorporate to your life to reduce its risk.
• Eat more fish (Omega-3-Fatty acids).
• Keep low blood pressure.
• Stay mentally stimulated.
• Learn a second or more languages.

In the following video the Biochemist Gregory Petzko talks us about the epidemic we will start to see in the next 40 years as the world population ages.









The problematic is very serious, if we don't do something in 2050 it is predicted to be 16 million people just in America creating stories as the following:


.

So I finish with a question:

Do you have any impression or comment from the Alzheimer Disease and the videos that you will like to share?

alzheimers-care-costs.pngAlzheimer's disease is a form of extreme dementia associated with progressive loss in memory, ability to speak, and ability to think and judge properly. These are very broad symptoms. This disease is relatively common among older people, especially those of age 60 or greater. AD is the most common form of Dementia. There are generally considered to be two types of AD: Early onset AD and Late onset AD.

Late onset AD is commonly associated with older people (60 or greater), and is far far more common than Early onset AD. The most likely reason for the lesser frequency of Early onset AD revolves around very specific, rare gene variations . people who contract early onset AD can look at their family tree and likely locate other relatives who also contracted early onset AD.

Late onset AD is less related to genetics. this does not mean, however, that Late onset AD is a natural part of aging.

Alzheimer's disease in general is not a natural part of aging. What is more disconcerting is that there is no determined cause for this illness. Scientists have suggested that genes and environmental factors play a role for causing the disease, but this is not for certain.

So this leads to the problem of treatment, or the lack of treatment options. There is no known cure for AD, only methods of prolonging the illness. Even by administering drugs to AD patients, they have a minimal effect in slowing the process of progressive brain failure in AD patients.


Preventing this disease is not really easy, because scientists don't know the definite cause of AD. All scientists can do is suggest keeping a stable blood pressure, exercise, maintain a healthy diet, and try to stay mentally and socially active throughout life.

It is clear to me that AD is a disease that has few if any signs of treatment. And this disease effects more than just a few americans. 1 in 8 individuals age 65 or greater have Alzheimer's. How close might a cure possibly be? and how important is it to spend money for Alzheimer research right now?

Better to forget?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

From the perspective of a college freshman, I am tempted to think I would love to have an infallible memory. I could easily remember every due date and every snippet of lecture on command - or the name of that girl I met during welcome week with the cute smile who I haven't been able to talk to since. We have to wonder then, why it is that we all don't have memories like those of "the woman who can't forget?"

IMG_1592.JPG

Well, for one, In the story of Ms. Price it is clear that her ability to recall things so well is derived from an acute importance she assigns to her memories. She has assigned so much value to the past that she has had to prioritize it over other things. In a sense, she has imprisoned herself in the task of curating her own life.

The trade-off seems to derive from the limited capability of humans to store and retrieve information and process it at the same time. Perhaps somewhere along the evolutionary tree there was a nexus where two humans with equal-sized brains, one with the better ability to predict the future and process the present, and one with the better ability to store and retrieve information from the past, were faced with a survival situation in which the present-focused human survived. Maybe this type of situation happened a few thousand or hundred-thousand times.

lion.jpg

That hypothetical model might demonstrate how lack of perfect memory might have persisted in humans to "make room for" other, more useful, thinking traits. But then again there are times when good memory may mean the difference between life and death. Once again though, the brain seems to be well-suited to its purpose. Traumatic events are often the most difficult for people to forget. Also run-ins with scary animals or threatening situations seem to illicit a particularly strong imprint on memory - just ask anyone who has been afraid of dogs ever since being bitten as a child, for instance.

crying-boy.jpg

The author states that anyone could have a memory like that of Ms. Price, all it takes is consistent dedication and effort. But you may end up sacrificing things, such as your ability to go out and explore new things, or to live in the present and seize opportunity to get that way. And when you commit every detail to memory, you end up with a lot of useless or painful baggage. So the real question seems to be -- would you want to have a perfect memory, or would you prefer to just have good memories?

Forget Me Knot.

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

I have this theory, when I'm older I am going to have Alzheimer's. Seems like a silly thing, but I mostly mean it. Throughout the day, I forget things, things that I should not forget, like what I had for breakfast, or if I even had breakfast. While I know that this does not necessarily have any bearing on whether or not I develop Alzheimer's, it is a thought. Can we see early signs of Alzheimer's in the way our memory works at a younger age, and therefore more effectively prevent it?

Forgetmenot symbol.jpg
Some say that it can be a genetic disorder, others say that there is no connection whatsoever. On the aspect of drugs that could help or cure Alzheimer's, there currently isn't one that could ultimately cure it, only one that could set back the effects for some time. Through the use of one of the drugs and brain stimulating activities, you can prolong the effects of Alzheimer's and even have many "positive" days. Along with this, have the person's days be repetitive in the sense that their schedule is similar day to day, ( I.e. wake up, shower, eat, read, visit, eat, watch a show, play cards, eat, get ready for bed, sleep.) or, the other option is putting the person in a nursing home which will instill a schedule each day. While it is not ideal, the pattern sometimes allows the person to find a place familiar for longer, if not on a conscious level, sometimes on the subconscious level. As of right now, sadly, the end effects are inevitable.

alzheimers.jpg

There are different stages of Alzheimer's and typically, the first memories that tend to go are the day to day memories. Then getting lost or forgetting people comes into play. Slowly, hygiene and personality fades. It is a sad and discouraging condition, a cure would be a wonderful miracle to many families affected. And sadly tying that knot around your finger will only remind you that you forgot something, if you remember why it was tied there at all. The hyperlink below is a Rascal Flatts song called Ellsworth that gives a pretty good portrayal on living with Alzheimer's.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGukwAYiTQ0

Ghajini memory loss

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Ghajini is Indian movie which is similar to Memento.According to the movie, the protagonist Sanjay Singhania's (Aamir Khan) is suffering from anterograde amnesia. so he tattoos himself and takes notes and pictures of everybody he meets in daily life in order to recall that person again and if he doesn't remember you which he wont, he will remove his pile of pictures from his pocket and try to see if he knows you. Sanyay's anterograde condition kicks in every 15 minutes, which means he remember things for a limited time frame of 15 minutes only. His memory needs refreshing after that time limit, therefore the tattoos, the scribbled notes and the Polaroid shots. He doesn't actually remember his girl Asin's - death. He comes to know of it when he reads the tattoos on his body every morning after he wakes up.Now here start the list of questions: How does he remember to read or write out those notes? How does he remember to take Polaroid pictures? How is anterograde amnesia different from amnesia and how are the two different from Alzheimer's, which also causes memory loss? Most importantly, if the guy can't remember anything beyond 15 minutes, how the heck does he remember he has anterograde amnesia? Of course, he has his scribbled notes and tattoos to rely on when he gets up in the morning, but he does spend quite some time outside his house spells that go far beyond 15 minutes, trying to track down the killer. so if you are his enemy and he tries to kill, just run away for 15 minutes and comeback , he wont even know you. Here is a clip from the movie.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from March 2012 listed from newest to oldest.

February 2012 is the previous archive.

April 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.