Monday, June 20, 2011
More About Memory
I suppose you might have been watching 60 Minutes last night. Sometimes one has to turn on the tube to hear news of what is going on locally. On that news show, which I seldom watch, last night, I heard a fascinating story about work being done by a famous cognitive scientist teaching at UCI. He has recently discovered in the deep deep well between our ears more riches, in the form of people with super-developed temporal lobes. And "temporal" they indeed are, it seems. In addition to more than a touch of OCD, these people with interesting if somewhat mundane superpowers have the ability to scan that part of their brain and download the most minute details, including sensory and emotional impressions, of what was happening in every second of their lives. Given a date, they can tell almost everything of what happened that day, what day of the week it was, what they were feeling, etc. They never forget anything, and with the except of one heavily burdened and apparently depressed individual, of the 6 that have been found thus far, they seem quite well adjusted and happy about their talent. Interestingly, though some are in the arts (a violinst, an actor), none are literary writers. Think what a gift that might be for a writer! But on the other hand, if one had this gift, she might not need or want to write to retrieve an impression that could be as easily gotten by merely scanning the contents of a corner of the brain. Why work for it? All the same, it gives us an idea that, as in the ocean, there is so much yet to be discovered in the brain.