Saturday, January 6, 2007

Memory

I've got a good memory for the most part. However, I've had a few experiences where I absolutely knew with 100% certainty I was going to remember something. Not something exceptional, or life altering, but a trivial experience.

In these cases I'd experience something, and then find myself reflecting on it a few minutes later as if it had happened much longer ago. It's as if I had purposely transfered the experience from my short term memory to long term and then recalled it from that long term memory. That's the only way I can explain the feeling of something that I just experienced seeming like it happened weeks or months prior.

The first time I had this experience was when I lived in England. I was in the equivalent of grade two and my family was going to move to Canada over the summer break. My class was visiting the next class - where most of them would be when school restarted. We played 'I Spy' in the class, then we walked back to our classroom. During that walk we went through a courtyard where there were a number of student desks lining the wall. As I passed by one of the desks, I placed my fingers in the hole in the desk surface left for the 'inkwell' (did I mention this was an old school in England). When we got back to our class, I had a 'recollection' of putting my fingers in the inkwell. At that point, I knew that I'd always remember what we had just done.

I've had this happen a handful of times in my life. I can't yet control this ability to force an experience into my long term memory. But I probably try to do it at least once a month. It's frustrating to know I have this ability, but not know how to use it.

1 comment:

cjg said...

Memory is a fascinating topic and I was happy that I was able to study it while at the alma mater. Long term memory is anything you can remember five minutes later, assuming you weren't repeating it over and over. When I learned this while psychology, I was surprised at the length of time that separated short-term from long-term recall.

Another example of this kind of memory is when you go to a lecture and the topic discussed is related to information you already understand well. The lecture goes right into long-term memory because it can be associated with things that are in long term memory already.

Thank you for providing me with another topic to write about as well!