The nucleus basalis holds our sharp memories in the brain. This is the part of the brain that makes learning so effortless for small children, but once children enter the formal education system like schools, it falls into disuse. Unless activities are highly focused so that production of acetlycholine and dopamine increases. It has been suggested that teaching children literacy in the formal education system rearranges neural networks and connections between areas of the brain that are not good for it.

"...Humans never actually lose memories; we just lose access to them..."

Tyson Yunkaporta 2019

That is why an incident should be documented when the memory is fresh and before speaking to anyone about it, ie untainted by subsequent conversations

. Experiencing-self = eg does it hurt now?

. Remembering-self = eg how was it, on the whole? It is strongly influenced by the peak and the end. It works by establishing stories and keeping them for future reference

"...Caring for people often takes the form of concern for the quality of their stories, not for their feelings..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

. Confusing experience with memory is a cognitive illusion, ie it is the substitution that makes us believe our past experience. Remembering-self dominates experiencing-self in decision-making.

"...What we learn from the past is to maximise the quality of our future memories, not necessarily of our future experience..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

. We select the option that you like the most, or disliked the least. Rules of memory determine how much we dislike or like.

. Taste and decisions are shaped by memories, and memories can be wrong. This challenges the idea that humans have consistent preferences and know how to maximize. There are inconsistencies, eg we have a strong preference about the duration of experiences of pain and pleasure. We want pain to be brief and pleasure to last. But we have evolved to remember the most intense period of pain or pleasure, ie the peak and the feeling when the episode finishes. We tend to remember the bad experiences more than the good experiences.

. Memories enhance the value of the experience.

. Memories are a very important part of who we are

. Memories are used to find presentable reasons stored in it but not necessarily the correct reason.

"...Memories......holds the vast repertory of skills we have acquired in a lifetime of practice, which automatically produce adequate solutions to challenges as they arise, from walking around a large stone on a path to averting the incipient outburst of a customer. The acquisition of skills required a regular environment, and adequate opportunity to practice, and rapid and unequivocal feedback about the correctness of thoughts and actions. When these conditions are fulfilled, skill eventually develops, and the intuitive judgments and choices that quickly come to mind will mostly be accurate......A marker of skilled performance is the ability to deal with vast amounts of information swiftly and efficiently..."

Daniel Kahneman 2012

Narratives and memories

"...narrative is the most powerful mechanism for memory. While isolated facts only go to the short-term memory, or to mid-term memory with repetition (as with the study for exams), story goes immediately to long term memory..."

Tyson Yunkaporta 2019

Stories are great for triggering connections to help remember things.

Haptic cognition (as part of memories)

Neural processes occur throughout the body and beyond it. This is sometimes known as haptic cognition or embodied cognition or distributed cognition

"...This means that thinking and learning also occur outside the brain in objects and beings we interact with and relationships in between......The meaning we make with places, people and objects and the way we organise interaction between these things becomes an extension of our thinking......we effectively store information outside our brains, in objects, places and relationships with others..."

Tyson Yunkaporta 2019

In Indigenous society, haptic cognition is very important; memories attached to places can be invoked by revisiting the places or even imagining being there.

"...Haptic cognition also occurs throughout your entire body......using your body consciously and meaningfully can unlock this intelligence. This is why any training that incorporates kinaesthetic learning is so effective..."

Tyson Yunkaporta 2019


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