The Situationist

Archive for June 16th, 2008

The Situation of Memory

Posted by The Situationist Staff on June 16, 2008

Old and Wise - Image by KoAn, FlickrSara Reistad-Long wrote a short piece for the New York Times last month titled “Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain. Here are some excerpts.

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When older people can no longer remember names at a cocktail party, they tend to think that their brainpower is declining. But a growing number of studies suggest that this assumption is often wrong.

Instead, the research finds, the aging brain is simply taking in more data and trying to sift through a clutter of information, often to its long-term benefit.

The studies are analyzed in a new edition of a neurology book, “Progress in Brain Research.”

Some brains do deteriorate with age. . . . But for most aging adults, the authors say, much of what occurs is a gradually widening focus of attention that makes it more difficult to latch onto just one fact, like a name or a telephone number. Although that can be frustrating, it is often useful.

“It may be that distractibility is not, in fact, a bad thing,” said Shelley H. Carson, a psychology researcher at Harvard whose work was cited in the book. “It may increase the amount of information available to the conscious mind.”

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Slight of Head

Posted by The Situationist Staff on June 16, 2008

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