After reading Lesson 9, I started thinking back about a few events it brought up. One being was the September 11 attacks, the other would be my childhood home. At first, I thought I had a pretty good recollection on these events. But after reading more into the lesson, I started to wonder if maybe I did recall these events correctly or not.
I will start with my childhood home. I would like to focus more so on my Grandparents’ house. I always felt confident in my memory of this house due to its out-of-date colors. The house for most of my childhood had yellow paint on the outside and on the inside each room was painted in various vibrant shades. I felt that such unusual color choices only helps in aiding this memory rather than my placing other colors in place. Then I realized that when they finally changed paint to grey, I found that simple change blurred the rest of the memory for me. I still, however, remember the basement vividly, or at least so I thought. My Grandmother absolutely loved Frank Sinatra. So much so that she had multiple posters of his portraits all over the basement walls. When I think back to the placement of the posters, I confuse their placement. I remember the posters themselves but don’t recall how exactly they were arranged. I feel that if I overthink it too much, I might form a new memory. A memory in which wherever I decided to place the posters might ruin how I may remember the basement permanently, like it stated in the reading.
The second event would be September 11, 2001. I feel that I can recall this day a bit easier due to the fact that I live in New York, my mother worked in Manhattan during that day, and McDonald’s toys. I will explain all this in a second, let me start with the first one. I woke up around 9:00 AM. This was at the time when beepers were very popular. I sent my mother a page and waited for her to call me from work. She finally called me, to inform me to wake up my father, and put on the news. She stating that the Twin Towers were attacked. I woke my father up and showed him the news, for the rest of the day, I ended up watching the news broadcasts’ and received updates from my mother’s whereabouts throughout the attack. She was close enough to the towers to see the attacks from her office window. Even with the attacks in the city going on, my mother made her way to a McDonalds to purchase me some toys that they were offering. At this time, I was into a Lego toy line known as Bionicle. McDonalds started to include their own spin of this toy with their Kids’ meals. My mother, even with the 9/11 events going on, she still went out of her way to get the toys that I was missing from the collection. I felt that with these factors in mind I should be able to recall everything quite well. I suppose most of the day is blurred out, but I do think the most vivid parts are the essential parts. I suppose you can say this mostly reflects the flashbulb memory.
In conclusion, it’s hard to say if your memories are truly accurate. Sure you have other people who may have been there as well to talk about the memories with you. But what if their memory differs from yours? Who can really be accurate? I think back to times where I reminisce with other people and have that, “Oh yeah!” moment, but now I wonder if that, “Oh yeah!” moment is now a newly formed false memory.
In Lesson 6, we saw a video about Clive Wearing, a man who has no Short-Term Memory. It seems that once he receives information it is quickly dropped from the brain. However, his Long-Term memory seems to be intact. We see him play the piano and recognize his wife whenever she enters the room. I found this lesson very interesting. One of the things that I always wondered about amnesia is if one can possibly form new Long-Term memories. In this lesson however we learn that both LTM and STM are independent of each other.
A topic I found interesting was the relationships between semantic and episodic memories. It is interesting thinking about how we come across information in our lives but not sure where we were when we were taught it. An example of episodic memory I would like to mention is when my grandfather would tell me how he met my grandmother. I heard the story over a hundred times and can recite it word for word, however, I cannot recall where I was when he told me the story. This might be because of how many times I heard the story, or maybe I was at a time interested more in the story rather than my familiar surroundings of my grandparents’ house. I was always impressed by the fact that even as he aged, he never forgot any parts of his story. He would always mention the name of the ship that he was on during his military days, the date of when he met my grandmother, as well as many other detailed events. Even though this is quite impressive, I feel that his Short-Term memory might not have been as strong. One of the reasons I believe that I heard this story so many times is because I am unsure if he remembered telling me or any of the other listeners. Sometimes when he was in the middle of telling the story to someone that had heard it before, if the subject changed due to lack of interest among the group, you could see the disappointment and frustration in my grandfather’s face. Telling the story may have seemed new to him and in turn be exciting for us to hear, but in reality we had heard it already. Even after negative experiences such as that, he would still try and tell the stories on later occasions.
In conclusion, I find it interesting that the stories he told me from his episodic memory in turn became some of my Long-Term memories of him, even though he did not form any new Long-Term memories of his telling me said story. It makes you wonder how many memories do people actually keep, and what memories you might have forgotten yourself.
Lesson 6 Course content.
Perception in the brain is a fascinating topic. It is interesting how our brain makes up images for us to shorten processing time. Our brain seems to grab what is familiar to us as perceptual experiences in a way to create the image.
Gestalt’s grouping Laws include proximity, similarity, good continuation, connectedness, common fate, and pragnanz.
One example of this would be the top-down image from our Lesson 3 reading. The checkerboard showing two tiles, one being tile A, the other tile B. Both appear to be different colors. However when we see the two tiles away from the checkerboard we then realize that they are the same. When the board is rebuilt around said image, we see the tiles change back to fulfill the checkered pattern.
Another example was shown to us in the video of Charlie Chaplin’s face. The video showed a mask of the actor’s face rotating. When the mask rotated to show the hollow side the face in the video, he explained that our brains would perceive it as convex. During the first rotation, I saw the mask as concave and hollow on the inside, but once he mentioned what he was observing I then observed it as convex and then could not see it hollow again. I also find this interesting when people point certain things out in a image we can not see them as we originally did due to perception.
The final example I would like to bring up here was a picture that started circulating around social media. This picture showed black and blue dress, though most people saw a white and gold dress. This conflict of perception caused it to become viral. People began sharing to other people to see what they perceived as the color of the dress. People are affected by the different visual cues such as, shadowing and the brightness of the background.
In conclusion, I feel that Gestalt created a good foundation for the reasons why we see things the way we do. It is an excellent reference point to explain why we perceive the world around us.
Lesson 3 Course content