"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Memories.... (again) 

Memory is, arguably, the most important non-physical function of the brain. It allows us to learn from experience: that food isn't tasty; that river is too swift to swim; invading Russia in winter is a bad idea. Two studies published recently shed more light on how memory works.

Researchers interested in memory retrieval trained rats to do a water maze task, lesioned their hippocampi, and then tested their memory. The lesions affected learning and memory in interesting ways, which should lead to good follow-up research. I won't bother abstracting it, there's a nice synthesis here.

Another study, which highlights something we all know already (that standardized intelligence/aptitude testing is crap), examined list recall from visual versus aural input modalities. It turns out that recall is highly modality-dependent: the auditory system seems to be naturally 'primed' for sequential memory, whereas the visual system is not. And both seem to be independent of actual linguistic ability.

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