Yesterday, Mrs Stroke Bloke sent me a link to what, at first, looked like an article in The Onion.
— Stereogum (@stereogum) February 12, 2018
I mean, seriously, right? Clumsily cut and paste Joe Biden’s head onto that, sit back, and watch the advertising dollars roll in.
[Find out about the latest developments in memory science below,
and check out the Apoplexy Newsletter here.]
Yeah, I did tell a nurse, “Who am I? I’m the Vice-President, man!” during the early stages of my recovery.
But the article was about an informal study conducted by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a writer, economics Ph.D., and former quantitative analyst at Google that more-or-less backs up my oft-made observation that the best music you ever heard came out when you were 17.
Songs that reached their commercial peak during a listener’s teenage years were more likely to appear higher in an age range’s most-listened-to tracks in the present day.
Stephens-Davidowitz doesn’t come to any concrete conclusions based on his data, Stereogum concludes. But let’s ignore the question of why journalism is lazy and shit these days, and recall that apoplectic.me has already researched the question and found the answer.
An article in today’s New York Times suggests that scientists are finally, truly beginning to understand the biology of memory well enough to manipulate it. The article is about last week’s news that scientists had developed a brain implant that boosts memory. And the hope that, people in the throes of serious memory loss, and their families, [may] feel a sense of hope…. These things take time, and there are still many unknowns.
Their implant, in fact, constitutes an array of electrodes embedded deep in the brain that monitor electrical activity and, like a pacemaker, deliver a stimulating pulse only when needed — when the brain is lagging as it tries to store new information.
As the article notes, we’ve long known that a stimulating pulse can sharpen the memory, making use of caffeine, nicotine, prescription drugs like Ritalin, or more virtuously, with a brisk run around the park.
Now, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned my disgust with the laziness and shittiness of so much of today’s journalism – natch – but even this NYT piece raises more questions than it answers. How many ways can one write, What are the possible consequences of this? Don’t know, don’t care to think about it?
Nevertheless, it jogs my memory about a few things. For example, [o]ne… ability that people with extraordinarily precise memory have in common is known as selective attention, or “attentional control.”
This reminds me of when I had to admit in the early days of rehab that I couldn’t name the President because I’m really bad about remembering things about which I don’t give a shit. Maybe an early indication that my Scottish homing beacon was about to kick in.
So, they asked me who the prime minister was, and I still couldn’t remember. Until Mrs Stroke Bloke said, You hate him, remember?
Back in today’s world, where everything is very different and the Prime Minister is a woman, I like to think that practicing paying better attention might help my memory. But the article in the Times seems to suggest that, while increased memory performance may be possible with the utilisation of particular memory techniques with respect to particular sets of data,
that ability didn’t transfer to any improvement in general cognition, like the ability to concentrate, to store new information without using the technique, or speed of processing.
So, I guess I’m going to stick with coping strategies. Hey, Alexa. What song that I liked as a teenager was I going to use to hang this post on?