Author Archives: Ziwei Sun

A gift of memory!?

A gift of memory!?

Everybody knows that memory is a very important element to success either in work and life. For most of the people, even the most important moments can be faded of our lives with time. People who hyperthymesia, will not experience this “washed way” or “let it go” moment. Is it a gift with a blessing or in a totally contrast way?

Individuals who have hyperthymesia can remember every detail in their lives. Once they encountered the date, it is like playing a recall movie in their head, without any hesitation, days in the past come alive. AJ(Real name Jill price), the first documented hyperthymestic, she can remember every detail of her life since she was fourteen years old. “Starting on February 5th, 1980, I remember everything. That was a Tuesday.”  Her brain was subject to the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex were reportedly normal. What a dream gift that everybody wants, however it not fully true. “I still feel bad about stuff that happened 30 years ago,” Price said. “And I really live it and feel it.”

What more astonished to me is, in fact, AJ was not good at the memory at all, according to the study published in Neurocase.

In our lesson, we learned about long-term memory. There are two kinds of long-term memories, Episodic memories and semantic memory I am wondering if it tied to her memory system and brain function.

Nowadays, since it is a rarely people diagnosed with hyperthymesia, the scientist still doesn’t know the reason of it.  Hopefully our science can find out the reason and cure them if they do not take them as a blessing gift.



Shafy, Samiha. “An Infinite Loop in the Brain”. The Science of Memory. Spiegel Online. Retrieved 6 December 2011.

Parker ES, Cahill L, McGaugh JL (February 2006). “A case of unusual autobiographical remembering.”Neurocase12 (1): 35–49

The Neural code for memory

The Neural code for memory

From chapter 2 the cognitive Neuroscience, we’ve learned that the basic concept about the neural code for memory. It is likely that the basic principle of distributed coding also operates for memory, with specific memories being represented by particular patterns of stored information that result in a particular pattern of nerve firing when we experience the memory.

It reminds me an interesting story about nerve and memory.

There was a new college coming to my friend’s company last summer.  His name is John who is an Asian American and can speak a little Chinese. After we had a short conversation in Chinese.

For some reason, it suddenly reminds me a  female friend I met when I was having a trip to China.  They had no common in appearance or background( as far as I know during the short conversation). How come my brain brings them together.

Until a few weeks ago, I heard John was flying back to China for celebrating the Chinese new year. I’ve been told his family is from Jiangsu Province in Chinese which is the same place I met my female friend Sherry. Then I finally figure out they had the same accent in Chinese.  Since John was born in America and his Chinese was taught by their parents.

It makes me think the neural code for memory does have specific patterns of stored information that result in a particular pattern of nerve firing. A smell, a sound, a taste can stimulate your nerve and memory.



Goldstein, E Bruce, Cognitive Psychology, Belmont: Wadsworth  2008 Print