How does your brain decide what to remember?

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  • Thread starter mikemortal
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  • #26
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As we age our brain does discard unused information. I saw a video that talked about how the brains of child prodigy works, and it's amazing the way they utilize it. When we hit certain ages( I think like every 7 years) Those are our critical years, our most life changing times. The old saying" If you don't use it lose it" applies exactly to our brains.As we all you we have thousands of neurons in our brain that stores and transfer information, but what happens is that, if we don't use it very often the information is discarded. It all depends on what age, how often we use it, and how significant it is. Many of us will remember like 3 or 4 of our birthday parties especially when we were young. Usually between the ages of 11 and like 14/16, because these are significant events, but we won't remember our like 3rd birthday because most of us were to young to comprehend what this occasion was meant for(how old). And most of us won't remember our birthdays when we're 31, because after a certain while, these events become insignificant. Maybe on special occasion like your big 5 0 (50) you'll remember those because it's kinda like a landmark event in one's life.

As for your situation maybe that day was a good day for you. On some days I really don't feel like going to school and I get (what my bio teacher calls it) a "Brain Fart" It feels as if no matter how hard I try information in my mind would "Lag" I makes it really hard to concentrate and think. But on really good days I would sit in class and all of this information would just be absorbed without effort and I would understand it all. So maybe on that day you felt really bored by the lecture, but your brain(Unaware of it) was taken information in constantly.
 
  • #27
neurotic or psychotic?

BTW, a clinical psychologist tried to hypnotize me, and I can't be hypnotized.
Fact is, almost anybody can be hypnotized. The only exceptions are neurotic, psychotics and mentally retarded people, which can not be hypnotized. Intelligent people that have the ability to concentrate are easier to hypnotize.
Personally, I manage to hypnotize about one in two, and hypnosis is just a hobby for me, which I learned myself from home study courses (See the http://www.reviewsnest.com/learnhypnosis/index.htm" [Broken] section in ReviewsNest - a reviews site which seems OK - to get a hang of what's going on in the market). The course I learned from is not from that site - but it'll give you an idea). Professional hypnotists should do much better than me.

My question is: Since it's clear you're intelligent - what are you: neurotic or psychotic? ;-)
 
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  • #28
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steven pinker points out that people cant figure out sentences like
"I can not not not remember things from my childhood"

he says that our brain seems to have a single slot for the word 'not' which it uses to remember when that word has been spoken and once its filled up we cant remember the next one

so whether we remember something may depend on whether we have a preexisting slot for that idea in our brains.
 
  • #29
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I play the piano, and for that, can identify different types of memory - physical muscular, intellectual, and emotional feeling, to name but three. A performance requires a reconstruction, as distinct from memory, and I wonder if what the original poster referred to as memory was actually a process of reconstruction. If so, there is a probability (if not a possibility) of 'errors' or twisting of the facts to suit the moment of reconstruction.
Another point is: In the right conditions, I can willfully smell lavender (for example), even though there is none present. What memory processes does that engage?
 
  • #30
DaveC426913
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Fact is, almost anybody can be hypnotized. The only exceptions are neurotic, psychotics and mentally retarded people, which can not be hypnotized.

This is not true.
 
  • #31
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This is not true.

You're absolutely correct. Most of each of these crowds, in varying degree, cannot be hypnotized.

In fact, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypnotic_susceptibility" [Broken]

I actually tried, in college, and with a trusted friend in grad school who was rather good at it! No dice.

In later years I recognize forms A 1-12, B/ C and 1-12.

I've seen several others in an hynotic state and I always think, "good for them! Hope their having fun."

Whatever. Again, hope they're having fun.

So, in answer to the question of: "How does your brain decide what to remember?"

How's this for an answer: "What I observed, plain and simple, devoid of predisposed anything whatsoever, with both a wide-open brain that is nevertheless very well grounded in the science and physics of our day."
 
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  • #32
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Fact is, almost anybody can be hypnotized. The only exceptions are neurotic, psychotics and mentally retarded people, which can not be hypnotized. Intelligent people that have the ability to concentrate are easier to hypnotize.
Personally, I manage to hypnotize about one in two, and hypnosis is just a hobby for me, which I learned myself from home study courses (See the http://www.reviewsnest.com/learnhypnosis/index.htm" [Broken] section in ReviewsNest - a reviews site which seems OK - to get a hang of what's going on in the market). The course I learned from is not from that site - but it'll give you an idea). Professional hypnotists should do much better than me.

My question is: Since it's clear you're intelligent - what are you: neurotic or psychotic? ;-)

The inaccuracy of your statements has been confirmed, but I'm curious how you developed these... interesting... notions? Sometimes tracing the history of wrong notions can help one understand how to better prevent their occurrence and general prevalence.
 
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  • #33
Another puzzling thing (maybe this is only me?)
I am capable of remembering different things depending on the situation I am in.

I would say about twice a year I suffer from a very specific insomnia related to memory.
I lay awake at night and remember dozens of missteps I had in conversations. No matter what I do during these nights I can not change focus. Embarassing pratfalls where I misspoke in the most mundane situations are the highlights of these episodes. I can remember the dialogues verbatum during this time and can not sleep the entire night and get anxious. Some of these memories go back decades. A day or two later the memories will vanish. Then a half year or so later it will happen again.

I don't have the memories otherwise. If it happened more often I would go crazy.



I think recalling memories helps to have a better memory, although from above I wish I could just forget certain memories.

I always try to remember : 3.14159265358979323846 at odd times like when I am waiting in a dentists office etc, just to test it to see if it is still there. In college I had 110 digits and then stopped. It seems trivial and people are quick to judge a person for memorizing Pi but I did it to see how far I could go. I don't think testing or even trying to improve memory is a waste of time, and I don't think it matters what is being memorized as long as you can test it to see if it is true. It is not a bad habit.

I just wish, as the original poster said: I could remember the things I want to and not the things I don't.
 
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  • #34
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yes even i agree with mike. Childhood memories are quite random and based on some unique mechanism
 
  • #35
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memory recall fascinates me, my oldest sister has a photographic memory. I hated that since only being a yr behind in school the teachers always expected me to perform at her level. they were not aware of her gift of being able to regurgitate info like she does, however curiously she doesn't have the comprehension of the information retained. I used to do her chem labs as I loved that class, and she really didn't know what it ment. she has an IQ of 240 something and my late father was 240ish as well. I never had the patience to sit thru the testing, although being implored to do so.

I however can recall just about every day of my life from about age 1 and a number of events from a few months of age to 1. it's not always an instant automatic thing, I have to first recall an event then from there I can track from there, kinda of like moving thru a movie reel. and everything thought or recall is always in life movie picture form. conversations are audible to me as is anything I read or recall. so if I recall something read in a book I invision the book but the words are a tape in playback unless I need to recall a picture then it's in a more traditional photographic memory form.

i also have a strange ability to never ever forget a face and can even somehow age the face to match to time difference. i.e. see someone once as a child then a decade later recognize them aged or the reverse, however it is a bit more difficult with 2d pictures. movie or real life is automatic. drives me nuts as I can't seem to recall names but faces stick like nothing else. it also worse if I try and make the memory of ones name, it almost guarantees me not remembering it, however if I don't pay attention, then it tends to stay.

a downside to this is distraction, trying to filter the barrage of information gets overwhelming and I will have multiple things going at once. it may seem like multitasking but in reality I have have to keep all those plates spinning to maintain sanity. if not I spend far to much time sorting, indexing and oddly cross referencing possible useful connections.

I classify my job as an inventor but that seems to confuse people. it's the only thing that works for me, I have ideas rushing in my head non-stop due to the constant stream of input and recall, I have also sadly over the yrs given away very profitable ones. I'll admit I'm horrid at the business end of things, thankfully these last few yrs I've had a good friend who benefits from this and I can get these ideas to market. I'm still puzzled by the cost of doing so though, everyone wants a piece.

My great great maternal grandfather apparently was an inventor of sorts in Scotland, according to the family. had something to do with farm equip and textiles. I feel like a jack of all trades master of none. OK I seem to have slipped off topic...my apologies.
 
  • #36
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yes even i agree with mike. Childhood memories are quite random and based on some unique mechanism

I'm not so sure they're random, and I think we remember them all. I simply think we don't recall them until something trips the memories.

The reason I say this is because I've gotten together with childhood friends over the years who've said, "Do you remember when..." and as soon as they mentioned it, before mentioning any details, the entire escapade flooded back into mind, including conversational/situationl details. I simply had not recalled it since the event took place.
 
  • #37
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I don't have many random memories. Each memory I have is definitely due to some sort of interest I had on it. I'm more fascinated with how much things we forget?
 
  • #39
Pythagorean
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I've read about cannabinoids playing a role in what our brain decides to forget. Cannabinoids act in retrograde signaling (signals that go in the opposite direction of the action potential, basically) which makes it a candidate for potentiation. Cannabinoid receptors are found in high concentrations in the Hippocampus, responsible for a lot of memory functions.
 

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