wikipedia small

Memory is the faculty of the mind by which information is encoded, stored, and retrieved.

Memory is vital to experiences and related to limbic systems, it is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If we could not remember past events, we could not learn or develop language, relationships, nor personal identity (Eysenck, 2012).

Often memory is understood as an informational processing system with explicit and implicit functioning that is made up of a sensory processor, short-term (or working) memory, and long-term memory (Baddely, 2007). The sensory processor allows information from the outside world to be sensed in the form of chemical and physical stimuli and attended to with various levels of focus and intent. Working memory serves as an encoding and retrieval processor. Information in the form of stimuli is encoded in accordance with explicit or implicit functions by the working memory processor. The working memory also retrieves information from previously stored material. Finally, the function of long-term memory is to store data through various categorical models or systems (Baddely, 2007).

Explicit and implicit functions of memory are also known as declarative and non-declarative systems (Squire, 2009). These systems involve the purposeful intention of memory retrieval and storage, or lack thereof. Declarative, or explicit, memory is the conscious storage and recollection of data (Graf & Schacter, 1985). Under declarative memory resides semantic and episodic memory. Semantic memory refers to memory that is encoded with specific meaning (Eysenck, 2012), while episodic memory refers to information that is encoded along a spatial and temporal plane (Schacter & Addis, 2007; Szpunar, 2010). Declarative memory is usually the primary process thought of when referencing memory (Eysenck, 2012).

Non-declarative, or implicit, memory is the unconscious storage and recollection of information (Foerde & Poldrack, 2009). An example of a non-declarative process would be the unconscious learning or retrieval of information by way of procedural memory, or a priming phenomenon (Eysenck, 2012; Foerde & Poldrack, 2009; Tulving & Schacter, 1990). Priming is the process of subliminally arousing specific responses from memory and shows that not all memory is consciously activated (Tulving & Schacter, 1990), whereas procedural memory is the slow and gradual learning of skills that often occurs without conscious attention to learning (Eysenck, 2012; Foerde & Poldrack, 2009).

Memory is not a perfect processor, and is affected by many factors. The manner information is encoded, stored, and retrieved can all be corrupted. The amount of attention given new stimuli can diminish the amount of information that becomes encoded for storage (Eysenck, 2012). Also, the storage process can become corrupted by physical damage to areas of the brain that are associated with memory storage, such as the hippocampus (Squire, 2009). Finally, the retrieval of information from long-term memory can be disrupted because of decay within long-term memory (Eysenck, 2012). Normal functioning, decay over time, and brain damage all affect the accuracy and capacity of memory.
Memory loss is usually described as forgetfulness or amnesia.


adding page shortly after reading Darran Anderson‘s imaginary cities:

deceptions of memory..

1926 – marco polo.. prison..  cellmate was a writer and good listener to his tales of voyages in the mysterious orient.. originally written as guide for budding merchants.. descriptions of world.. fascinating.. scarcely believable..


beyond their narrow confines, the world was more extraordinary than his skeptic could imagine. raised in the seemingly impossible floating city of venice, a maze of canals and alley s build on stilts in a lagoon, marco polo had no such limitations. imaginary cities posed no threat to a man who was born in one

venice dreaming/swimming and playing marco polo

when a book leave he protective custody of its creator, it is rightly at the mercy of its readers but also, if prominent enough, at the hands of those who have not read it…. before printing press.. polo’s tales spread largely thru word of mouth.. with cumulate error compounded by jealousies and speculations..

to accuse polo of inventing fiction is to assume that perception and memory are not partially fictional to begin with

chris market: ‘i will have spent my life trying to understand the function of remembering.. which is not the opposite of forgetting, but rather its lining. we do not remember. we rewrite memory much as history is rewritten’..t

fragments of the real are retained, though they evolve with time to fit the wisdom or fallacy of hindsight and are juxtaposed w memories of dreams and thoughts and memories of memories.. we are unreliable narrator even to ourselves…


from Maria:

Is memory produced by us, or is it us? Our identity is very likely whatever our memory decides to retain. But let’s not presume that memory is a storage room.

In a sentiment that calls to mind Joan Didion’s unforgettable assertion that we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not,” Adnan considers how memory binds us to each other and to our own former selves:

Memory is intelligent. It’s a knowledge seated neither in the senses, nor in the spirit, but in collective memory. It is communal, though deeply personal. Involved with the self, though autonomous. At war with death.

on the accuracy (and bravery to change) our perception/memory of self

“The self,” the poet Robert Penn Warren observed in his immensely insightful meditation on the trouble with “finding yourself,“is a style of being, continually expanding in a vital process of definition, affirmation, revision, and growth, a process that is the image, we may say, of the life process of a healthy society itself.” Indeed, if the great humanistic philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm was correct, as I believe he was, in asserting that self-love is the foundation of a sane society, our responsibility to ourselves — and to our selves — is really a responsibility to one another: to know our interiority intimately and hold our darkest sides up to the light of awareness. But part of our human folly is that we do this far less readily than we shine the scorching beam of blameful attention on the darknesses of others.

It has always been much easier (because it has always seemed much safer) to give a name to the evil without than to locate the terror within. And yet, the terror within is far truer and far more powerful than any of our labels: the labels change, the terror is constant. And this terror has something to do with that irreducible gap between the self one invents — the self one takes oneself as being, which is, however, and by definition, a provisional self — and the undiscoverable self which always has the power to blow the provisional self to bits.

pheno geno gap ness

Baldwin turns his critical yet uncynical intellect toward our capacity for self-transformation — the most difficult and rewarding of our inner resources comprising our collective potentiality:

bravery to change ..depends on both our willingness to honestly look at and let go of.. the memory we have of us

It is perfectly possible — indeed, it is far from uncommon — to go to bed one night, or wake up one morning, or simply walk through a door one has known all one’s life, and discover, between inhaling and exhaling, that the self one has sewn together with such effort is all dirty rags, is unusable, is gone: and out of what raw material will one build a self again? The lives of men — and, therefore, of nations — to an extent literally unimaginable, depend on how vividly this question lives in the mind. It is a question which can paralyze the mind, of course; but if the question does not live in the mind, then one is simply condemned to eternal youth, which is a synonym for corruption.


from the forgetting by David Shenk on alzheimer’s


when mind really wanders.. amazing what sort of involuntary memory leaps one makes. what’s more.. perhaps single most important point to understand about memory: every time a memory is recalled, new trails are made.. the act of remembering generates new memories.. becoming.. memory of memories.. overlap is very basis of memory and identity..  because of this, no recorded experience can ever be fully distinct from anything else..


the ease w which false memories can be implanted

gaslighting ness.. voluntary compliance.. manufactured consent..

recall is never replay


David Foster Wallace on copying texts from memory: “it will be in your failure to be able to duplicate it that you’ll actually learn what’s going on…”

Original Tweet:



zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) tweeted at 6:16 AM – 27 Nov 2017 :

Sleep as consolidation, sleep as creation. “This substantial variability is not consistent with the idea that night-time activity replays day-time experiences for consolidation.” (

Adult zebra finches rehearse highly variable song patterns during sleep

Brain activity during sleep is fairly ubiquitous and the best studied possible function is a role in memory consolidation, including motor memory. One suggested mechanism of how neural activity effects these benefits is through reactivation of neurons in patterns resembling those of the preceding experience. The specific patterns of motor activation replayed during sleep are largely unknown for any system.

We show that male zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) frequently exhibit spontaneous song-like activity during the night, but that the fictive song patterns are highly variable and uncoordinated compared to the highly stereotyped day-time song production. This substantial variability is not consistent with the idea that night-time activity replays day-time experiences for consolidation. Although the function of this frequent activation is unknown, it may represent a mechanism for exploring motor space or serve to generate internal error signals that help maintain the high stereotypy of day-time song. In any case, the described activity supports the emerging insight that brain activity during sleep may serve a variety of functions.


augmenting memory – ai ness