Tag Archives | Memory

Why Time Slows Down In Near-Death Situations

falling_wideNeuroscientist David Eagleman hatched an experiment to learn about why our sense of time slows to a crawl in near-death situations (such as a free fall from a significant height). Disappointingly, it’s not because our abilities of perception kick into Matrix-style hyperdrive. NPR reports:

“Turns out, when you’re falling you don’t actually see in slow motion. It’s not equivalent to the way a slow-motion camera would work,” David says. “It’s something more interesting than that.”

According to David, it’s all about memory, not turbo perception. “Normally, our memories are like sieves,” he says. “We’re not writing down most of what’s passing through our system.” Think about walking down a crowded street: You see a lot of faces, street signs, all kinds of stimuli. Most of this, though, never becomes a part of your memory. But if a car suddenly swerves and heads straight for you, your memory shifts gears. Now it’s writing down everything — every cloud, every piece of dirt, every little fleeting thought, anything that might be useful.

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Rewriting History Is Easier Than You Thought

11Slate just conducted an interesting experiment in Orwellian-style rewriting of history. Readers were asked to share their their recollections of recent historical events, many of which never actually happened. That didn’t matter though; a large percentage recalled, for instance, how angry they were when Obama infamously shook hands with Ahmadinejad (which he didn’t). The lesson being, if you ask someone to remember something, they will:

In the first three days the experiment was posted, 5,279 subjects participated. All of the true incidents outscored the false ones. But the fake images were effective. Through random distribution, each fabricated scene was viewed by a subsample of more than 1,000 people. For Obama meeting Ahmadinejad, the number who remembered seeing it was 26 percent. For the Hillary Clinton ad, the number was 36 percent. For the Edwards-Cheney confrontation, it was 42 percent, just seven points shy of the percentage who remembered seeing the DeLay/Schiavo episode.

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Can Researchers Re-Activate Memory In The Elderly?

German neuroscientists have made a breakthrough in "age-related cognitive decline" which often begins in your late 40s (especially declarative memory - the ability to recall facts and experiences)! Their new study identifies a genetic "switch" for the cluster of learning and memory genes which cause memory impairment in aging mice. By injecting an enzyme, the team "flipped" the switch to its on position for older mice, giving them the memory and learning performance they'd enjoyed when they were young.
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