Memory - So how do we know? TOK website for IB students.
Memory Where would we be without memory? How do we know without memory? Is memory a WOK?
The importance of memory can be highlighted by imagining the challenges that would be presented by losing our memory. DISCUSSION: What do you do to remember things? Does your memory of these events change because of the souvenirs you create? What do you remember well? What do you tend to forget easily?
l a r u d e c o r
P e g d e l know And if we forget?
TASK: think of your most distant childhood memory Childhood amnesia General inability of people to remember specific events from the early years of their lives
The average age of the earliest memory reported is about 3.5 years old. Yet, women tend to be able to go back a bit further. Freud explained childhood amnesia (and almost everything else) by sexual repression Some theories suggest that
childrens brains are not equipped to store memories because there are not enough connections between the brain cells and the memory storage areas are immature. Some theories suggest that because cognition is influenced by language, we dont remember this
pre-linguistic stage. Maybe the memories are stored in a form we cant access anymore. http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/sep/29/chimp-intelligence-aymu-matsuzawa-kyoto http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkNV0rSndJ0 "We've concluded through the cognitive tests that chimps have extraordinary memories," Matsuzawa says. "They can grasp things at a glance. As a human, you can do things to improve your memory, but you will never be a match for Ayumu."
The answer lies in evolution, says Matsuzawa. As humans evolved and acquired new skills notably the ability to use language to communicate and collaborate they lost others they once shared with their common simian ancestors. "Our ancestors may have also had photographic memories, but we lost that during evolution so that we could acquire new skills," he says. "To get something, we had to lose something. For the chimps, the ability to memorise the location of objects is critical to their survival in the wild, where they compete for food with other, often
aggressive, ape communities. To thrive, an individual chimp must be able to look up at, say, a sprawling fig tree and quickly note the location of the ripe fruit. Visual memory versus other types of memory. DISCUSSION: What is the link between language and memory? How reliable is our memory?
Elizabeth Loftus at TED (the fiction of memory): Contamination of memory through misinformation The misinformation effect Language and memory
We can change each others memory (Loftus) FALSE MEMORIES DISCUSSION: Have you ever had a false memory (which you are aware of)? Do you think you may have had a false memory planted into your head at some stage? Do you sometimes have a
memory of yourself which includes the visual image of yourself as if you were seen by someone else? Do you reconstruct the
memory of your life story? My own (false) photographic story Facebook: what will it do with your memory?
Better looking? more popular? More exciting?
funnier? Suggestion in(bad) psychotherapy False memories were planted by psychiatrist on Cool (1986) Success rate for planting
false memories Nearly drowned: 50% Attacked by a dog:50%
You witnessed demonic possession Lost in shopping mall: 25 % How false memories change your behaviours
Disgust Or appetite? Discussion: what are the ethical implications of such memory experiments? Would you implant false memories in your children to make them eat vegetables? Is there any situation in which we could justify planting false memories? Could we justify planting false memories from a utilitarian point of view?
The abuse of memory in the world Pre-Raphaelite art Our memory of colonisation Link to AOK
The Aryan Myth See Curtiss The Living Dead epsiode 1 (website) Discussion: can you find other real-life
examples where memory is/has been abused around the world? CIA interest in leading memory psychologists during the Cold War era. CASE STUDY: Tabula Rasa therapies by therapist Cameron For full documentary: See Adam Curtis: The living dead, episode 2, 19.25mins 23mins.
website: www.sohowdoweknow.weebly.com) Memory and sense perception (WOK) Proust: A la recherche du temps perdu. Emotions and memory (WOK) Emotional events are often memorable
Emotions from the past may influence your judgements today Discussion: can you find examples of your own life of such memories? Flashbulb memories (what
you did on 09/11) Science, technology and memory (AOK) http://www.inference.phy.cam.ac.uk/jmb86/memory.pdf Neuroscience and psychobiological research on the mechanics of memory
Memory research through technology The field is a fertile frontier where modern tools computers and functional magnetic resonance imaging open new windows. Using fMRI, one group of researchers found that thought patterns used to recall the past are strikingly similar to those used to imagine the future. In another, researchers scanned the brains of people who had watched short films repeatedly, until the
memories were fully encoded, or stored, in the brain. A computer analyzed the scans as the participants recalled the films. Not only could researchers predict which movie was being recalled, but they found that the patterns of brain activity among different participants were incredibly consistent. (University of Virginia) Memory and our sense of self
Memory and identity Who we are, where we came from Memory and cultural identity DISCUSSION TASK: Which knowledge questions could you come up with based on this lecture? PLENARY
Memory, and particularly habit, has a strong link to procedural knowledge and remembering how to perform actions. In contrast to perception, memory refers to things which are not currently happening. And in contrast to imagination, memory refers to things which we believe really happened. Some would argue that memory is not itself a source of knowledge, but instead is a process which we use to recall knowledge gained in the past. However, although memory refers to knowledge gained in the past, it can be argued that even new knowledge is dependent on
and influenced by memory. For example, how we interpret new situations can be heavily influenced by experience and previous events. In this way, apart from being a storage unit for existing knowledge, memory can also be a mechanism that allows us to process new and unique situations. Many discussions of knowledge tend to focus on how beliefs and knowledge are formed rather than on how they are remembered by the individual. However,
most of the knowledge that individuals have is in the form of memory and therefore how we retain information and how past events and experiences are reconstructed is an important aspect of how personal knowledge is formed. Because so much of our personal knowledge is in the form of memory, issues surrounding the reliability of memory are also crucial.
Memory retrieval is often regarded as unreliable, for example, because it is seen to be subjective or heavily influenced by emotion. See documentary: The mystery of memory (scientific explanation, the effects of emotion on memory) Memory Can we know things which are beyond our
personal present experience? Is eyewitness testimony a reliable source of evidence? Can our beliefs contaminate our memory?
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