memory

How Dementia Works

The number of people suffering from dementia is expected to explode in the coming decades and, in a pleasant surprise, countries around the world are taking steps to plan for the increase in friendly, caring ways.

How Amnesia Works

Those movies where someone gets hit on the head and can't remember who they are anymore? They're actually not too far off from the reality of amnesia. Learn everything about this bizarre and life-robbing condition with Josh and Chuck.

Doorways and the Mind; or the Deeper Meaning of Walking into a Glass Door

I don't really have much to add to the post that was published on the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog, but the study they wrote about bears more than just simply passing along the link, I think. The post, "How walking through a doorway increases forgetting," concerns a study out of Notre Dame that sought to get to the bottom of how the mind carves experience up into episodic memory.

During the Conscious after Decapitation episode on SYSK, we all closed our eyes and counted off four seconds, since that's about how long it's been determined a person can stay conscious after being decapitated. We thought about all of the sights and sounds and sensations that can be experienced in four seconds and we were all thrilled with the horror and dread of it all.

I think it's neat that it's 2010 and we still have no idea how we perceive taste. We were supposed to have hovercars and metallic jumpsuits by now and we still only have what can be regarded as a pretty basic understanding of our sense of taste. In the last year or two, though, the scope of what constitutes has expanded tremendously. What we know of taste has thus far been largely observational. We know that taste and smell are inextricably linked since people who lose one also lose the other. We know that the mental constructs of tastes we create and store in our brains are plastic; they can be enhanced and revised by further encounters with a taste. We know our sense of taste can be tricked by chemicals that mock the flavors of foods. We know that there are five specialized taste receptor types; umami (my favorite), sour, sweet, salty and bitter.

You remember that horrible slapping around you took a couple years back when you turned down the wrong alley late at night? Remember the dread that welled up in your stomach as you realized three men were particularly interested in keeping you there longer than you'd cared to? Do you remember the pain of the assault and the fear and terror that followed and stayed with you like a blanket always hung over your shoulders? Yeah, well, you wouldn't remember any of this if you'd taken an experimental drug researchers at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn have come up with. You'd especially not remember your traumatic assault if you're a rat, since the clinical trials are still in the animal research stages. The New York Times reports that neurological researchers have managed to come up with a drug that blocks the substance that enables memory recollection, called PKMzeta.