ALS Topic 40 - Memory - Builder, Guide, Trickster, Demon of Passions, or Best Forgotten?

Saturday, August 10, 2019 12:15 PM to 2:30 PM (end time flexible)
[This meetup is a week later than the regular sequence]

Venue: The Rose - 31 East Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000 (upstairs)

About Focus Questions: a) Please read them before you come to the meetup. Think about them so you have more than "instant opinions" to offer. b) Feel free to add more focus questions. c) THE FOCUS QUESTIONS ARE JUST A MENU TO CHOOSE FROM. From this menu we can discuss whatever seems interesting. d) Focus questions are not intended to push one viewpoint! You can adopt any position you wish. We actually like friendly disagreement - it can lead to deeper understanding.

Focus Questions

1. WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT REMEMBERING OR POOR AT REMEMBERING? Why do you think that is?

2. WHEN HAS A MEMORY, OR FALSE MEMORY, LED YOU TO BE OVER-CAUTIOUS, OR CHOOSE BADLY? Memories, personal and collective, guide our actions and predictions. Yet memories are fallible and often lead us astray.

3. WITHOUT MEMORY WE ARE NO LONGER HUMAN. SO HOW RANDOM SHOULD THE BUILDING OF MEMORIES BE? If you watch someone slipping into dementia (I have) you will see that they cease to be the person you knew, and eventually become almost no person at all. An infant makes a journey the other way. Between those extremes, individuals and societies have some control, yet how much?

4. WHEN HAS MEMORY, OR DISTORTED MEMORY, LED A COUNTRY INTO CONFLICT?

5. MEMORY IN THE BRAIN IS A COMPLEX PHENOMENON. WHAT ARE ITS STAGES AND TYPES?

6. IF YOU SET OUT TO IMPROVE YOUR MEMORY AS A TOOL, HOW WOULD YOU GO ABOUT IT?

7. AN (IDIOT) PhD SUPERVISOR ONCE SENT ME AN ANGRY EMAIL SAYING "MEMORY HAS NOTHING TO WITH LANGUAGE LEARNING". WHY DO YOU THINK HE WAS WRONG (... OR RIGHT)?

8. IT IS OFTEN CLAIMED THAT ASIAN EDUCATION SYSTEMS DEPEND UPON ROTE MEMORIZING WHILE AUSTRALIAN EDUCATION IS MORE CREATIVE. HOW TRUE IS THIS OF ASIAN SYSTEMS OR THE AUSTRALIAN SYSTEM?

9. GOVERNMENTS (AND COMPANIES) OFTEN WANT PEOPLE TO FORGET BAD EVENTS OR BAD PRACTICES. HOW DO THEY TRY TO ERASE MEMORIES?

10. WE ARE NOW FLOODED WITH A 24 HOUR NEWS CYCLE AND COUNTLESS OTHER DISTRACTIONS. HOW DO YOU THINK THIS AFFECTS THE NATURE AND QUALITY OF MEMORIES?

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Extra Reading

Bartosz Czekala (n.d.) "The Universe Of Memory" website @ https://universeofmemory.com/start-here/  [comment, Thor : a really interesting website with many interesting articles]

Robert Roy Britt (July 1 2019) "The Art and Science of Remembering - Key techniques for creating a lasting memory". Elemental Medium website @ https://elemental.medium.com/the-art-and-science-of-remembering-df393a17685b

Wikipedia (2019) "False Memory Syndrome" @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_memory_syndrome

Emma Bryce (22 July 2017) "False memories and false confessions: the psychology of imagined crimes". Wired website @ https://www.wired.co.uk/article/false-memory-syndrome-false-confessions-memories

Wikipedia (2019) "Gaslighting" @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslighting  [Quote: "Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which a person seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. Using persistent denial, misdirection, contradiction, and lying, gaslighting involves attempts to destabilize the victim and delegitimize the victim's belief"]

Wikipedia (2019) "Historical negationism" @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_negationism  [Quote: "Historical negationism, or denialism, is an illegitimate distortion of the historical record. It is often imprecisely or intentionally incorrectly referred to as historical revisionism, but that term also denotes a legitimate academic pursuit of re-interpretation of the historical record and questioning the accepted views."]

Krystal D'Costa (December 1, 2016) "Three Historical Examples of "Fake News" - History is littered with examples where the the facts were altered to suit a specific purpose. Here are three instances where falsified public accounts were used to chart the course of history". Scientific American @ https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/anthropology-in-practice/three-historical-examples-of-fake-news/

Patti Miller (25 July 2019) "Walking helped me discover the slow unfurling joy of reading books aloud - On long treks through France, Spain and remote Australia, I discovered the rich wonder that comes from reading to a friend". The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/jul/25/walking-helped-me-discover-the-slow-unfurling-joy-of-reading-books-aloud

=> Thor, comment: What does reading aloud, especially to a friend, have to do with a discussion topic on memory? A lot, I suspect. We live in an age of video overload, which is easy to dine on, quickly forgotten and hardly thought about. Silent reading is faster and more information dense than video if the writing is good and you are highly literate - increasingly a minority of people. Yet even much silently read stuff quickly passes from memory. Reading aloud, like a meal eaten slowly and savoured, is much more likely to stay with us and help us grow, especially if shared with a friend as this article describes. Maybe we should have meetups for the art of reading aloud ^_^

Benjamin Law (24 July 2019) "Chinese-Australian history predates the first fleet – and my family helped me find out how". The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/jul/24/chinese-australian-history-predates-the-first-fleet-and-my-family-helped-me-find-out-how  [Thor, comment: About 10% of Australians have Asian heritage, some recent, some going back generations. That's about the same % as black Americans in USA, or indigenous Maoris in NZ. They all have tangled histories which you won't find in school text books. Indeed written histories anywhere are always a very selective collection of memories by a special group of people. In a world where everyone has a phone camera to collect evidence, we can't even agree amongst ourselves about the meaning of what is happening now, let alone generations ago ... ]

Amy Fleming (29 Jul 2019) "‘It’s a superpower’: how walking makes us healthier, happier and brainier - Neuroscientist Shane O’Mara believes that plenty of regular walking unlocks the cognitive powers of the brain like nothing else. He explains why you should exchange your gym kit for a pair of comfy shoes and get strolling". The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/jul/28/its-a-superpower-how-walking-makes-us-healthier-happier-and-brainier

Wikipedia (2019) "Rote Learning" @ https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rote_learning

Deborah M Gordon (11 December 2018) "An ant colony has memories that its individual members don’t have" Aeon Magazine @ https://aeon.co/ideas/an-ant-colony-has-memories-that-its-individual-members-dont-have

Patrick Lucas Austin (19 August 2017) "Video Games Really Can Damage Your Brain (But Don't Panic). A recent study found that people who played first-person shooter video games showed shrinkage in their hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for both memory management and spatial navigation. But is playing Call of Duty really that bad for you, and if so, can a daily dose of Super Mario 64 balance everything out?". Kotaku @ https://www.kotaku.com.au/2017/08/video-games-really-can-damage-your-brain-but-dont-panic/

Wikipedia (2019) "The Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS) is a neuropsychological test designed to measure different memory functions in a person. Anyone ages 16 to 90 is eligible to take this test. The current version is the fourth edition (WMS-IV) which was published in 2009 and which was designed to be used with the WAIS-IV". @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wechsler_Memory_Scale

Henrietta Cook (3 October 2018) "The new font that promises to boost your memory - Sans Forgetica - As far as fonts go, this one breaks every rule. It slants backwards, there are confusing gaps in every letter and it’s difficult to read. But the aptly-named Sans Forgetica has a major advantage: it’s believed to improve people’s memories. In a world first, researchers from RMIT University have designed a font to help people retain information". Brisbane Times @ https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/education/the-new-font-that-promises-to-boost-your-memory-20181003-p507ju.html

Claudia Hammond (13 November 2018) "The inability to ‘mentally time travel’ is the latest memory condition to intrigue researchers – and as most people with it likely don’t realise, it may be more common than we think." BBC @ http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20181112-severely-deficient-autobiographical-memory-is-surprisi

Charlotte Philby (30 January 2018) "One in 50 of us is face blind – and many don’t even realise. Prosopagnosia, which makes those with the condition unable to recognise others, often goes undetected – despite being more common than autism". The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/society/shortcuts/2018/jan/29/one-in-50-of-us-is-face-blind-and-many-dont-even-realise

University of California (June 18, 2018) "Often overlooked glial cell is key to learning and memory. Biomedical scientists offer simple advice: Keep the brain active". Science Daily @ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180618222427.htm

American Physiological Society (June 20, 2018) "Forgetting may help improve memory and learning - Forgetting names, skills or information learned in class is often thought of as purely negative. However unintuitive it may seem, research suggests that forgetting plays a positive role in learning: It can actually increase long-term retention, information retrieval and performance". Science Daily @ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180620130021.htm

Hannah Devlin (9 March 2017) "Cultivating a ‘memory palace’ can make long-lasting improvements to recall, say scientists, suggesting many of us have untapped memory reserves. A Sherlock-like ability to put a name to a face and other prodigious feats of memory are likely to be mostly down to hours of training and using the right mnemonic techniques." The Guardian @ https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/mar/08/ancient-technique-can-dramatically-improve-memory-research-suggests-memory-palace

Paul Craig Roberts (May 10, 2019) "The Lies That Form Our Consciousness and False Historical Awareness". Foreign Policy Journal @ https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2019/05/10/the-lies-that-form-our-consciousness-and-false-historical-awareness/

Deane Alban (n.d.) "How to Improve Short-Term Memory -
What is short-term memory, exactly? Understand what it is, how it compares to working memory, and the four things you must do to improve your memory." Bebrainfit website @ http://bebrainfit.com/improve-short-term-memory/

Deane Alban (n.d.) "15 Memory Improvement Myths Now Debunked - Myths have distorted our understanding of how our brain and memory works. Recent advances in neuroscience can help you improve your memory and brain health. Scientists have learned more about the brain in the past 15 years than in of all previous history. But neuroscience is in its infancy and there is much more to learn". Bebrainfit website @ http://bebrainfit.com/memory-improvement-myths/

Rachel Gillett (18 September 20140 "Hit The Ground Running - Why We’re More Likely To Remember Content With Images And Video (Infographic). Without a visual component, your message might not be getting heard". FastCompany website @ https://www.fastcompany.com/3035856/why-were-more-likely-to-remember-content-with-images-and-video-infogr


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Thor's own websites:

1. articles at http://independent.academia.edu/ThorMay ;

2. legacy site: http://thormay.net .

 


Memory - Builder, Guide, Trickster, Demon of Passions, or Best Forgotten? (c) Thor May 2019 return to Ddiscussion