How’s your memory?

What do we know about memory? We have practically unlimited memory, but seem to have trouble accessing it. If we use the same brain model, we have to assume that the brain is doing nothing wrong. Our recall or imprint ability may be hindered by some outside forces at play.

There’s a correlation between vision and cognitive function in the elderly. Here’s a study that compares vision to cognitive function in the elderly. Think about how this applies to Alzheimer’s. Refractive errors cloud memories.

If we improve eyesight, does memory improve as well? My memory is getting better with my vision. I can tell you that. Although I have know way of quantifying it at this point. So just count me in for another theory. Think about it though: if the brain is really just a perfect computer, and eyesight is a symptom of mental strain, would it be so unreasonable to suggested that it effected our memory recall as well?

Emotional intensity can help prioritize memories. Think about that bad break up or the funeral of a loved one. Think about where you were during the 911 attacks. Some events can be “buried” in your memory just the same.

Clarity of memories does not depend on the time since the event was experienced. Think about your clearest memories. It’s not just yesterday. There’s also that time when you were twenty-one, and your birthday…way back when.

What is the nature of memory? If there is no such thing as time, how does memory work? We can recall large amounts of information from all over our lives with relative ease. What’s the difference between long-term and short-term memory? Can you have one and not the other?

Short term memory is really just recall after 15-30 seconds. Long term memory is really what we call memory. Here’s another big simplification: there’s no short term memory. If we’re ignoring time [and I am] then they are the same anyways. 

False confessions have figured into 24% of the 289 cases overturned by DNA evidence. We know that memory is infamously unreliable in court cases. Witnesses just don’t always seem to get it right. False confessions may have other variables at play, but memory plays a role. If you clearly remember not committing a crime, why would you ever confess to doing it? This article says that people who are mentally ill are more susceptible to these false confessions.

Not all memory fades with age. This article basically says that there are different types of memory, and older people still have access to some of them. For instance, they can remember a name and a not a face or vice versa. I’d like to challenge this approach with the theory that memory is absolute. Recalling all you know about a given event or person would be your baseline. Anything less than that would be distortion.

So what are my takeaways here? Your memory can be improved, just like your eyesight. We know now why the elderly have problems seeing, and it effects their memory as well. So take back your sight, and take back your mind, and take back your memory.