Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How does memory work? I'm interested by the things I remember and under what circumstances. To give you an example: when I'm in front of my laptop I can remember every password, remember lists of things to do, calendar events coming up etc..yet when I was in Calgary, or in fact, on anyone else's computer I have huge mental blanks and it can take ages to remember even really simple things. This is especially perplexing given that most of the applications I use are on-demand, or web based, so the look, feel and content don't change regardless of which computer I'm on. Same with faces. If someone I recognise fairly easily is out of context, then I really struggle with working out who they are, what their name is and how I feel about them. I find that strange. Is memory contextual? I guess it is, well certainly in my case.


Blogger Jamie said...


10:20 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Yes i think you're right.
I remember bartending, meeting people writing their names down on the checks, yet next time I would see them all I could remember was tanq+tonic, or whiskey old-fashioned sweet. Not what their name this day I can tell what they drank years ago but names?

7:45 PM  
Blogger pitfinder said...

I'm in too. I can remember the contents of conversations and especially visual/spatial details from encounters with people long ago, but names? Poof! Gone.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Smiling Willow said...

I have the opposite problem. I recognize people all the time and then realize it can't be them because I am in the wrong city for them.

6:16 PM  
Blogger suze said...

who are you people? stop following me!!

9:19 PM  
Blogger Smiling Willow said...


9:09 AM  
Blogger earthkissed said...

Memory is so complicated! And certainly certain stimulus elicit the recall of memory. For a lot of people smells are what do it, for some people it is visual stimuli. To make it more complex there is also something called working memory. It's the old "you never forget how to ride a bike". There have been people who have brain damage who can't remember people's names etc, can't lay down new memories, can't remember that they can play the piano, but if you sit them in front of a piano will be able to play wonderful pieces because it's stored in their working memory because they did it so much prior to their accident. It's almost like their fingers remember what their brains don't... Sometimes when I'm typing in passwords, I feel like that's where they're stored!

10:45 PM  

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