Archive for the ‘Memory’ Category

What Was That? I Can’t Remember What You Said, I Was Next-In-Line

April 17th, 2017 5 comments

Don’t You Hate When This Happens?

Imagine it’s the first day of classes for the semester. Your professor announces to the class that you are going to do an icebreaker activity to get to know each other. There are probably a few groans and a little bit of fear from the shyer students. You must tell the class your name, your class year, where you’re from, and a fun fact about yourself. The dread sets in as you panic and try to think of something interesting. You don’t want everyone to think you’re lame or a weirdo. You spend the whole time everyone else is talking trying to think of what to say and finally it’s your turn: “Hi my name is Emma, I’m a senior, I’m from Jacksonville, Florida, and, um, I can lick my elbow.” Now you wonder if maybe that was a little too interesting, while the person sitting next to you talks about his summer in Belize. Or was it Nicaragua? You can’t really remember. Actually you can’t quite recall what any of the people before you said. You were so focused on your own presentation that you did not pay attention to what other people said. This is called the next-in-line effect.

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Decisions – Are you making any?

April 17th, 2017 No comments

Every day, we make countless numbers of small decisions. What am I going to wear? Where should I go for lunch? Should I sign up for a drama class next semester? If you are a high school or college student, you are probably making decisions about these all the time. Remember that time in the High School Musical (the movie), when the lead actor, Troy Bolton, had to make a really tough decision? He had an option to try something new and sing with his crush, Gabriella, but his basketball team, the Wildcats, asked him to stick to the stuff he already knew.

HSM 1 – Stick to The Status Quo

Now, if you love High School Musical as much as I do, you probably remember that the Wildcats asked Troy to stick to the status quo. Now, you probably always wanted to know, what is the status quo? Let me answer that for you.

Status Quo is a cognitive bias that occurs when a person is faced with a complex decision to make and chooses to stay in his or her current state, refraining from looking for an alternative. Our everyday decisions may be the result of the status quo bias.

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It’s a truth… It’s a lie… It’s confabulation?

April 17th, 2017 No comments

There are small lies and there are large lies, and then there are a range of lies that fall in between- not too unbelievable, but just shy of complete plausibility. We’ve all committed a few little white lies, telling mom or dad that yes, of course our homework is done, of course the dishes have been washed, and of course we cleaned our rooms. We grow older and the lies get larger and a bit more complicated- of course we’re out of town, too sick to make it, too tired to meet up. Of course it was a business trip, of course we were at the office late. Then you have the lies that Mr. A, who could be seen as your respectable grandfather, tells about the staff at his nursing home. A likeable business man until a stroke two years ago, and now he’s going around making up stories and claiming that all the aides are sleeping with him (Chlebowski, Chung, Alao, & Pies, 2009).

But can it really be considered just a lie? There’s no evidence of anything going on between Mr. A and the nurses, but is he really just a troublemaker, making up the lies for fun? Or rather are the accusations an example of false memories (untrue or distorted real memories)? Then, take note of the fact that Mr. A had a stroke before these “lies” arose. Confabulation is the term for a memory disturbance, where false or erroneous memories are formed involuntarily and are fully believed to be true, seen with amnesia and Alzheimer’s disease (Bajo, Fleminger, Metcalfe, & Kopelman, 2016; Lee, K. Meguro, Hashimoto, M. Meguro, Ishii, Yamaguchi, & Mori, 2007). Mr. A, then, could vehemently believe in the truthfulness of his statements, despite their complete fabrication. There is still research going on to figure out what confabulations really are and what causes them, but here we can look into what’s been done to tell us (1) why confabulations occur and what they entail, (2) what confabulations actually look like, and (3) how confabulations differ between amnesic and Alzheimer’s patients. Read more…

Categories: Memory Tags: ,

Google- How It’s Changing the Way We Remember

April 17th, 2017 4 comments

How many times have you found yourself googling a question that you know you’ve heard the answer to before, but you just couldn’t remember it? Or have you ever wondered why you just couldn’t recall a small factoid that you read about in a news article the other day? Probably quite often, right?

Well, the internet may be to blame. A new phenomenon associated with our ability to remember things that we believe to be easily accessible through a quick internet search has emerged and has been coined the “google effect” based on the popular search engine. The internet can be thought of as a memory storage system outside of our own brain- like how a USB drive is an external memory storage device.

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You’ll still probably have to Google what the Google effect is later on, even if you read this now

April 17th, 2017 2 comments

Imagine you encounter a time traveler who recently arrived in the present day from a couple hundred years ago. What would he or she be most impressed by in this day and age? Would it be the skyscrapers and developed roadways? The drastic decrease in the amount of untouched nature? The amount of leisure time and luxuries people have today compared to back then? No; perhaps the most amazing breakthrough that distinguishes today from a few centuries ago, though it is seemingly taken for granted by most who use it, is the phenomenon of us having almost all the information we could possibly need contained in a small box in our pockets. The ability to search the plethora of knowledge that is the internet at any time and any place allows us to access any information we want within seconds. Gone are the archaic days in which we needed to flip through countless books looking for a single quote or memorize facts that may or may not be useful in the future. So, why would we bother taking up space in our memory with such knowledge when we could simply remember where to find it? Read more…

Categories: Education, Memory Tags:

Have a Little Empathy: How to Overcome the Empathy Gap and Understand Each Other

April 17th, 2017 4 comments

Road rage is an example of a common emotional reaction that we might not understand in others

Picture this: you’re driving on a busy street with your friend. All of a sudden, a car comes out of nowhere and cuts you off. You’re in a hurry to get somewhere, and this makes you angry. So, you take the first opportunity to zoom into the left lane and speed past the car that cut you off, looking at the driver as you pass. Its not until your friend shouts “Watch out!” that you slam on the brakes and realize you almost hit the car in front of you at a red light. Your friend chastises you for overreacting and driving recklessly. They don’t understand why you would do what you did, and after calming down, you don’t either. Sound familiar?

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Why can’t I remember the name of the actor in my favorite movie?…I know I know it…it’s on the: Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon

April 17th, 2017 5 comments A accurate depiction of of TOT happening in our daily lives (minus buying tongues)

Remember that time when you were trying to recall the celebrity who plays the main character in your favorite movie? You knew that their name began with the letter L, that they were in another movie about dreams, and that they finally won an Oscar. You may even say, “it’s on the tip of my tongue”. But for some reason you just can’t recall their name (by the way it’s Leonardo Dicaprio). It is something we’ve all experienced, and it is called the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon (TOT).
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How to Become More Adaptive to Negative Outcomes in Life

April 17th, 2017 3 comments

An Unfortunate Event

Sometimes life feels like a progression of unfortunate events. You go and get ice cream and right before you take a bite the cone slips out of your hand, falls and then oozes on the pavement. You go back to the end of the ice cream line and by the time you get to the front they are out of your favorite flavor. It is easy to feel this way when you are having a bad day or if you are incredibly stressed by an overbearing workload. People also tend to feel this way around deadlines especially if nothing is going their way. For example, as a student you may have had a day like this. You walk into class and realize you left your assignment in another notebook. After class you check your phone and see a rejection email from the summer internship you had your heart set on. Just as you are putting your phone away you drop it and the screen cracks. Meanwhile the kid standing next to you asks how your final paper is going. In that moment you realize you wrote the due date incorrectly on your planner. A minute later you get a text from your lab partner (on your shattered phone) saying that tonight is the only night she can meet to work on the final project. It feels as if every possible thing in your life has gone wrong.

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Are Pictures Really Worth A Thousand Words? When It Comes to Memory They Are

April 16th, 2017 3 comments

Have you ever looked at the coverage map for a telecommunications company, like Verizon, and wondered why a company would choose to spend the money on a colored picture instead of just presenting the information in the paragraph? I mean, wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to just write it all out? Probably, but it wouldn’t be as effective.

Below is a paragraph that describes Verizon’s coverage in the U.S., and a corresponding image that displays the data. When the information is laid out in text, I bet that you, the consumer, would have a much harder time articulating and remembering the information. But by presenting the information in a picture (like that shown below), you can easily discern and remember the differences between the coverage of four telecommunication companies. Why would this be true? It has to do with the way that we encode, or initially learn, information. This is a perfect example of the picture superiority effect, the phenomenon in which people are better at remembering images than they are at remembering words (click here for a quick, fun video that explains this phenomenon).

“Among the four major wireless carriers, only Verizon’s 4G network is 100% 4G LTE the gold standard of wireless technology. Available in over 500 cities, Verizon 4G LTE covers almost 97% of the U.S. population. Experience the speed and power in more places.”–3G-speed-comparison_id53828

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IKEA: Furniture Company or Masterful Manipulators?

April 16th, 2017 2 comments

You wake up one day with the urge to build something—let’s say it’s a chair for your kitchen table. You print the instructions from online, go to the hardware store to get supplies, and then you set up shop in the garage, ready to build your masterpiece. It already seems like quite an undertaking, doesn’t it? And that’s before you realize that you will make a cut too short, need more wood, and all of a sudden the project is going to take twice as long as expected. So, as you stand there in the garage amidst your frustration, you might ask yourself…why the heck am I doing this? Well, I have good news for you. Wood-working enthusiast or not, thanks to the IKEA effect, you’re going to love that chair far more than the one you saw last week at Bob’s Discount Furniture.

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