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Woman’s Long-Term Memory Astonishes Scientists
Posted: 19 April 2006 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5350362

Click on the ‘listen’ button just to the left of the author’s name at the top

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SilentTone: hulitoons blog of just plain silliness?
UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”  So, I AM because WE are

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Posted: 19 April 2006 11:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I wonder if she can also remember the exact text of every book she’s read. That would have been incredibly useful in school.

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Posted: 20 April 2006 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Alex, I put to question the professor who sent the story to me, if he knew WHEN the young lady became aware that her ability was unusual and did not comply with that of other people.  I hadn’t thought about visual text material, but I get the feeling that she must also be able to do this if she can give facts from news articles etc.  She appears to file accurately and then be able to pull to front anything she has been a ‘part’ of herself….things she has seen, read, heard etc. on a particular given day.  I also had received some prior information about the young lady before listening to the news report.

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SilentTone: hulitoons blog of just plain silliness?
UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”  So, I AM because WE are

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Posted: 20 April 2006 11:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Report and video continue today, April 20, and this time they interview AJ, the young woman: 
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5352811  click the ‘listen’ button

Alex, it appears that she does not memorize or have a photo memory of text or like kind.  Her memories are ‘autobiographical’, things centered around what she has seen, felt, and done herself.  These she can recount within a fraction of seconds along with other things that centered around her senses including articles she read etc.  When asked to perform ‘memory’ feats using rhyms etc. that we often use to help digest and retain specific things, she’s as clumbsy as the rest of us. 

So her memory is that of selection in what has happened around herself.

My question about WHEN she realized she was different was also answered, she was 12 years old. 

David and I were having a kind of debate on the issue of ‘mind’ over ‘brain chemistry’ in the thread concerning ‘reincarnation’.  That sort of links here in a way because David, being a perpetual scientist and mathematician points at truth being ‘measured.’  On the philisophical side, I maintain there is ‘something’ else besides the chemistry….All of us have the chemistry that keeps us animated, yet through our brains stores ALL that it sees, hears, etc. the ability or desire to recall those filed imagery vary among individuals.  What we DO recall and how we recall it, has little to do with chemistry, but rather something ‘else’ that decides what it wishes to recall, how that recalled picture appears and even the truth as that individual interprets this to be.

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SilentTone: hulitoons blog of just plain silliness?
UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”  So, I AM because WE are

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Posted: 20 April 2006 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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hulitoons - 20 April 2006 03:48 PM

All of us have the chemistry that keeps us animated, yet through our brains stores ALL that it sees, hears, etc. the ability or desire to recall those filed imagery vary among individuals.  What we DO recall and how we recall it, has little to do with chemistry, but rather something ‘else’ that decides what it wishes to recall, how that recalled picture appears and even the truth as that individual interprets this to be.

In your opinion, yes.

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Posted: 20 April 2006 12:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Physically, I’d suggest that memory is promoted by reinforcement. Remembering something makes it easier to remember something.

Now this might sound like a truism, but in fact it is just a practical result of the action of your synapses. Synapses (which pass a nerve impluse from neuron to neuron) use neurotransmitters to mediate the passing of signals between cells…

Note that as vesicles merge with the pre-synaptic membrane of the junction they extend and strengthen the connection. A synapse can hence grow through it’s own activation (yes, this is an oversimplification). It’s called ‘potentiation’ and remains an active area of neurological study.

As to why some things are remembered more easily in the first place, I’d point to the fact that memory has no ‘place’ in the brain where it is stored, and arises from triggering of cascades of nerve firings. The more stimuli link to a memory, the more easily it can be triggered. Being there (total submersion) is pretty much the limit as to how much stimuli you can link to a memory.

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Posted: 20 April 2006 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Apologies for the image, it didn’t look as big on the wikipedia page.

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Posted: 20 April 2006 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[Everybody has experienced a sense of “losing oneself” in an activity—whether a movie, sport, sex, or meditation. Now, researchers have caught the brain in the act of losing “self” as it shuts down introspection during a demanding sensory task. The researchers—led by Rafael Malach and Ilan Goldberg of the Weizmann Institute of Science reporting in the April 20, 2006, issue of Neuron—say their findings show that self-related function actually shuts down during such intense sensory tasks. Thus, an “observer” function in the brain does not appear to play an active part of in the production of our vivid sensory experiences. These findings go against common models of sensory experience that assume that there is some kind of “homunculus”, or observer function in the brain that “looks at” sensory brain areas. Thus the finding, they said, has significance for understanding the basic nature of consciousness and perception.
The experimental challenge that the researchers faced was to design one task that could be used to activate specifically either sensory processing or introspection brain areas. Their solution was to ask subjects to look at the same pictures or listen to the same musical phrases, but to perform two different kinds of processing on them. To explore sensory processing, the researchers asked the subjects to use buttons to classify the images as animal/non-animal, or the musical passages as trumpet/non-trumpet. And to study introspection, the researchers asked the subjects to indicate whether emotionally they felt strongly or neutrally about the image or musical passage.

During the tests, the researchers scanned the volunteers’ brains using functional magnetic resonance imaging. In this widely used technique, harmless magnetic fields and radio waves are used to scan blood flow in brain regions, which indicates activity.

The researchers found that regions of the brain activated during sensory processing or self-reflective introspection were quite distinct and segregated. Sensory processing activated the sensory cortex and related structures, while introspection activated the prefrontal cortex, they found.

Importantly, the researchers found that activity in the self-related prefrontal cortex was silenced during intense sensory processing.

As a result, wrote the researchers, “We propose that the role of self-related cortex is not in enabling perceptual awareness, but rather in allowing the individual to reflect upon sensory experiences, to judge their possible significance to the self, and, not less importantly for consciousness research, to allow the individual to report about the occurrence of his or her sensory experience to the outside world.

“To conclude, the picture that emerges from the present results is that, during intense perceptual engagement, all neuronal resources are focused on sensory cortex, and the distracting self-related cortex is inactive. Thus, the term “losing yourself” receives here a clear neuronal correlate. This theme has a tantalizing echoing in Eastern philosophies such as Zen teachings, which emphasize the need to enter into a ‘mindless,’ selfless mental state to achieve a true sense of reality,” they wrote.


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Posted: 20 April 2006 01:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Boo - 20 April 2006 03:56 PM
hulitoons - 20 April 2006 03:48 PM

All of us have the chemistry that keeps us animated, yet through our brains stores ALL that it sees, hears, etc. the ability or desire to recall those filed imagery vary among individuals.  What we DO recall and how we recall it, has little to do with chemistry, but rather something ‘else’ that decides what it wishes to recall, how that recalled picture appears and even the truth as that individual interprets this to be.

In your opinion, yes.


yes, just my opinion.

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SilentTone: hulitoons blog of just plain silliness?
UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa culture means: ‘I am because we are.)”  So, I AM because WE are

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Posted: 21 April 2006 04:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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How does your opinion explain that chemicals can impair or enhance this ‘something else’s ability to recall things?

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Posted: 21 April 2006 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I am one of those people who can recall things from early childhood and even infancy. 

My earliest memory is waking up in my crib crying (on many occasions).  I apparently cried before awakening because what did wake me was the salty taste of tears in my mouth.  I don’t know why I remember this, but I always knew that if I ever had a baby that I would go to them when they cried because I remember being alone and scared.

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Space…..it seems to go on and on forever, but then you get to the end and the gorrilla starts throwing barrels at you. - Phlip J. Fry

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Posted: 26 April 2006 06:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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i don’t think it’s actually possible to recall anything during infancty. Now I hate just saying but citing sources but once a person learn how to speak all his previous memories no longer stays because your brain now works in a entirely different way.

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