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Dog: “My people are so well behaved.”

December 2nd, 2013 2 comments

We have all been affected by Alzheimer’s disease (AD), or a related disorder that results in declines in cognitive ability uncharacteristic of normal aging. For some the familiarity may be all too salient – a grandparent, uncle, or elementary school teacher. Others may have a more distant connection – perhaps they know a friend whose grandmother is struggling with the disease. My Aunt was recently diagnosed. We’re not particularly close, but the news has certainly taken an emotional toll on my extended family. Regardless of personal connection, AD is extremely prevalent, and as the population continues to gray, its impact is becoming increasingly widespread.

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Categories: Aging Tags: , ,

A Unique Stench

April 30th, 2013 1 comment

Do you ever catch yourself thinking back to experiences from your past – happy, triumphant, gloomy memories? Perhaps, you sometimes imagine what life could present you down the road, where you’ll be 5, 10, 15 years down the line. Research into mental time travel (MTT) – the manner of mentally travelling back in time to relive past personal events or forward in time to imagine possible autobiographical events in the future, suggests that past and future MTT operate along similar principles, mostly in that people tend to recall events dated close to the present regardless of direction. However, differences have been observed as well; future events have been found to involve more of an observer perspective (as opposed to first-person) and refer less frequently to specific events, while they’re generally more personally important and relevant to the person’s self-identity. In other words, MTT into the future is based more upon the creation of potential circumstances in terms of one’s own personal representation of the world based on prior experiences, while MTT into the past is based on actual recollection of past events. The present study (Miles and Berntsen, 2011) aimed to further investigate future versus past MTT in response to different types of sensory cues. It focused on odor cues, as it has been claimed that odors are uniquely encoded and maintained in memory. Thus, it was expected that memories evoked in response to various smells should be different from those evoked via verbal or visual cues.

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Categories: Memory Tags: ,