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Saturday, December 06, 2008

Early Memories

From New Scientist: Brain quirk makes eyewitnesses less reliable.

The article is pretty vague about some of the details, but it brings to mind the following point:

Long-term memories are encoded by a slow, physical process (LTP) which can take upwards of eight hours to complete. In the interim, the memory has been recorded (in that the process of change has been initiated), but cannot yet be played back (until the process gets far enough along or finishes).

Perhaps the above experiment is witnessing this interim valley, wherein recall must rely upon less robust short/medium term mechanisms. And any faulty recall in turn becomes a new percept in effect, tainting future memories.

If true, the most robust way to remember something may be to pay good attention at the time, and then don't think about it again until the next day after any LTP is well cured.

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Simon Funk / simonfunk@gmail.com