Memory: Do some people have more “space” or just better retrieval?

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Summary:
Memory storage
I’ve read that the human brain capacity has 2.5 petabytes worth of memory storage. I have an excellent memory for details; even super obscure things that happened decades ago. I only have an average IQ but my recall is very good especially when my memory is jogged or if I had read something more than 1 time. I read that people with Autism may have better memories; and it is possible I am on the spectrum due to my lack of social skills. I also have read that people with larger visual cortex’s have better memories as well. This would imply that part of the brain is bigger and has more “space”. Yet I have read that forgetting is due to retrieval problems and not the inability to store stuff. Yet their are also a handful of people who remember everything and that is not the norm by any stretch of the imagination. So what’s the verdict. Is my memory better because I have a thicker, larger brain matter with more space OR is the retrieval system in my brain wired better?
 

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  • #2
Klystron
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Social skills, like many skill sets, can be taught, learned and improved through practice.

My youngest sister joined Mensa and attends meetings to socialize with other inquiring minds. She swears by Toastmasters to improve public speaking skills and overcome residual shyness and hesitancy meeting new people and forming friendships. 'Toasties' worked for her insofar as she met her current husband after giving a speech I helped her construct on California coastal defense radar, a hobby of his. She landed an interesting new job through local Mensa contacts.

No doubt our visual cortex developed along with, if not central to, memory storage. Audio cues and other senses appear to assist memory retrieval. I sometimes speak or sub-vocalize to remember certain words or phrases. Every Psychology I student has studied how author Marcel Proust associated the odor of fresh baked pastry to childhood memories; an affectation borne out by actual experiments with different scents.
 
  • #3
Vanadium 50
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So what’s the verdict. Is my memory better because I have a thicker, larger brain matter with more space OR is the retrieval system in my brain wired better?

This is your third thread inviting us to praise your brain. I think you might want to reflect on why this is so important to you.
 
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  • #4
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This is your third thread inviting us to praise your brain. I think you might want to reflect on why this is so important to you.


If you bothered to read my post; you will see that I admit my IQ is average. I’m not saying I’m smarter or better than anyone. I just have pretty good recall for things that happened years ago that are so minuscule and unimportant like conversation pieces I’ve had with people. I simply want to know why this is.
 
  • #6
Fra
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I read that people with Autism may have better memories; and it is possible I am on the spectrum due to my lack of social skills.
I don't know what the consensus is but one theory to explain the combination of increased exceptional memory learning focused on one thing and not as good skills on social interactions and other "big picture thinking" is some idea that reduced connectivity between remote brain areas, may be reciprocally related to improved localized activity.

[Neural mechanism underlying autistic savant and acquired savant syndrome]
" we propose another integrative model of savant syndrome. In this model, we predict an altered balance of local/global connectivity patterns that contribute to an altered functional segregation/integration ratio. In particular, we emphasize the crucial role played by the disruption of global connectivity in a parallel distributed cortical network, which might result in impairment in integrated cognitive processing, such as impairment in executive function and social cognition. On the other hand, the reduced inter-regional collaboration could lead to a disinhibitory enhancement of neural activity and connectivity in local cortical regions. In addition, enhanced connectivity in the local brain regions is partly due to the abnormal organization of the cortical network as a result of developmental and pathological states. This enhanced local connectivity results in the specialization and facilitation of low-level cognitive processing. "
-- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18646626/

/Fredrik
 
  • #7
Baluncore
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I only have an average IQ but my recall is very good especially when my memory is jogged or if I had read something more than 1 time.
How can you be certain your recall is accurate? You might just be easily mislead, like all those around you who jog your memory.
 
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  • #8
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I also have read that people with larger visual cortex’s have better memories as well. This would imply that part of the brain is bigger and has more “space”.

Unlikely. Memories are not stored in visual cortex, they are stored in hippocampus. If visual cortex size correlates to memory then my speculation would be that this is retreival rather than storage related, as having an ability to visualise may help with the associative side of memory.

Yet I have read that forgetting is due to retrieval problems and not the inability to store stuff. Yet their are also a handful of people who remember everything and that is not the norm by any stretch of the imagination. So what’s the verdict. Is my memory better because I have a thicker, larger brain matter with more space OR is the retrieval system in my brain wired better?

Your brain doesn't have a separate retreival and storage system. Memories are stored structurally in a network via synapses and retreived via the dynamics of the same network. It works something like this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopfield_network.
 
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  • #9
Klystron
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From the article cited above:
Hopfield networks also provide a model for understanding human memory.
Bolding added; the operative term being model, not explain.

IMS Ising-Lenz models helped improve radar/computer electro-chemical 'memory' in experimental devices circa 1973. I was able to acquire and store essentially one complete scan of a search radar via EM radiation stored on silver molecules; a gestalt of the signals that would present to an operator on a phosphor display. I tinkered with the bulky device during overnight shifts with remote assistance from Dr. Dicke via postcards, but was only able to achieve one memory/gestalt at a time.

Storing each 360° scan/sweep required ~20 minutes preparation including fine tuning EM fields but I was able to acquire, store and display one complete sweep of a search antenna by 'clocking' the antenna drive with the radar pulse synchronization signals expected by the designers. Though slow by modern standards, detail was adequate but coarse; somewhere between a raw data phosphor scan and an actual photograph.
 
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