Re: "How Memory Works" Article

Anders Sandberg (
19 Jun 1998 19:06:04 +0200

"Natasha Vita More (fka Nancie Clark)" <> writes:

> Check out cover article "How Memory Works" (Newsweek, June 15) by Geoffrey
> Cowley and Anne Underwood.

Sounds interesting.

> Interesting point: "Perfect retention may sound like a godsend, but when
> the hippocampus gets overly permissive, the results can be devastating."
> Superhuman memories: "These savants can recite colossal strings of facts,
> words and numbers. But most are incapable of abstract thought. Lacking a
> filter on their experience, they're powerless to make sense of it."

It might turn out that the way we develop semantic memories,
i.e. abstract information, is the gradual melding together of our
memories. That means we tend to loose their clarity, but we gain in
generalization ability.

This is something that interests me with memory enhancement. Is it
possible to both have the cake and eat it? If the multiple memory
trace model of Moscovitch and Nadal is true, then it might be possible
to tweak the consolidation processes to retain clear memories and get
abstraction. But this model is rather controversial (cf. the latest
issue of Current Opinion in Neurobiology).

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y