Re: Recovered Memories

Anders Sandberg (
27 Apr 1999 18:47:46 +0200

"david gobel" <> writes:

> I have been intrigued by this subject in the past and have intended to
> pursue analysis of Neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield's experiences with conscious
> subjects undergoing brain surgery...apparrently, while such individuals were
> undergoing surgery they experienced TOTAL recall of rather unremarkable
> events in their lives...such as "being in the kitchen washing the dishes
> while my husband is on the phone...he is saying "" (what follows is a
> verbatim repeat of the conversation about unimportant matters).

Yes, these were very striking experiments. Made me think everything were stored perfectly in the brain when I read it as a young boy. But the problem is, the recall was (if I can remember right :-) extremely detailled and vivid, but not necessarily what really happened. Just very good reconstructions of memory traces that would otherwise be extremely hard to remember.

> Penfield was so shocked by this occurrence that he made it a subject of
> considerable investigation during his career. I think we might be getting
> close to a time when our brain scanning technology could take a renewed look
> at this phenomenon.

It still has far too limited resolution, individual cell assemblies are too subtle to be viewed with foreseeable scanners. The overal pattern of activation when remembering stuff has been studied, but that is like saying "it involves typing on the keyboard, watching the screen and drinking Coca Cola" as a description of programming - true, but at a too high level.

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