Essay Example on William Scoville used a hand crank and a cheap drill Saw

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On September 1 1953 William Scoville used a hand crank and a cheap drill saw to bore into a young man’s skull cutting off vital pieces of his brain and sucking them through a metal tube This wasn't a horror movie scene As a boy Henry had cracked his skull in an accident and soon began having seizures After enduring years of frequent episodes of epilepsy the desperate Henry had turned to Dr Scoville who decided to remove the young man s hippocampus whose function was still unknown The operation had succeeded Henry s seizures virtually disappeared but there was one problem Henry couldn t form new memories anymore He could no longer tell the coherent story of himself the story that told the world a great deal It was thanks to him that we now know that the seahorse shaped hippocampus as well as the structures alongside it are critical to the process of memory formation But how are our memories processed In the late 1960s American psychologists Richard Attkinson and Richard Shiffrin figured out enough about the process of memory formation to break it down into three stages 1st it s encoded into the brain then it's stored for future use then it's eventually retrieved Sounds simple but by now you figured out that just because you take a lot of stuff about your mind for granted doesn't mean that it's not complicated 



By Atkinson and shiffrin's model we first record things we want to remember as an immediate sensory memory think back to the image I showed to you a minute ago you remember his name if you do it's because you successfully managed to shuffle it into your short term memory But this information really only stays in your short term memory for under 30 seconds without a lot of rehearsal So if you re like most people you forget a name right after being introduced to someone that doesn't mean you have a bad memory It just means you haven t encoded the name properly But the short term memory can really only hold between 4 and 7 bits of information at a time at which point the memory either decays or gets transferred into long term memory by a process scientists call consolidation Now Long term memory is your brain s durable storage unit holding all of your knowledge skills and experiences There are also different kinds of long term memory Explicit or Declarative memories generally involve some effort and intention Examples include recalling information for a test or remembering a list of items to pick at a store Implicit of non declarative memories on the other hand include procedural memories which refer to how we remember to do things like riding a bike They can also be episodic tied to specific episodes of your life like remembering how you celebrated your last birthday But how well will you retain your data depends on how deep you dig through the different levels of processing 



And I m going to stop at a concept psychologists refer to as Elaborative encoding and it is well illustrated by the baker baker paradox which goes like this If I tell two people to remember the same word If I say to you remember that there's a guy named Baker that s his name and I say to you remember that there's a guy who is a baker And I come back to you at some point later on and I say do you remember that word that I told you a while ago do you remember what it was The person who was told his name is Baker is less likely to remember the same word than the person who was told that his job is a baker Same word different amount of remembering That's weird What's going on here The name baker doesn't actually mean anything to you but the common noun baker we know bakers Bakers wear white hats bakers have flour on their hands so when we first heard that word we start putting means of associational hooks into it and that makes it easier to fish it back out at some later day The entire art of remembering stuff better in everyday life is figuring out ways to transform capital B bakers into lower case b bakers to take information that is lacking in context insignificance in meaning and transform it some way so that it becomes meaningful in the light of all the other things that we have in our minds Each moment an action occurs an emotion is felt and somewhere in our brain inside the piece of flesh that controls us a stain is made Only then do we know that if something can be remembered it's never lost Thank you


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