Archive for the ‘memory’ Category
7th International Deleuze Studies Conference
Models, Machines and Memories
Istanbul, July, 14-16th 2014
Details can be found here.
Our special issue of Review of Philosophy and Psychology is now out:
- Kourken Michaelian, John Sutton. Distributed Cognition and Memory Research: History and Current Directions
- Robert D. Rupert. Memory, Natural Kinds, and Cognitive Extension; or, Martians Don’t Remember, and Cognitive Science Is Not about Cognition
- Deborah P. Tollefsen, Rick Dale, Alexandra Paxton. Alignment, Transactive Memory, and Collective Cognitive Systems
- Georg Theiner. Transactive Memory Systems: A Mechanistic Analysis of Emergent Group Memory
- Martin M. Fagin, Jeremy K. Yamashiro, William C. Hirst. The Adaptive Function of Distributed Remembering: Contributions to the Formation of Collective Memory
- Robert W. Clowes. The Cognitive Integration of E-Memory
- Santiago Arango-Muñoz. Scaffolded Memory and Metacognitive Feelings
- Nils Dahlbäck, Mattias Kristiansson, Fredrik Stjernberg. Distributed Remembering Through Active Structuring of Activities and Environments
- Paul Loader. Is my Memory an Extended Notebook?
In my previous post, “Is Truth Beneficial and/or Socially Constructed?,” I mentioned as a counterexample to the pragmatist theory of truth a nightmare a person had which she did not tell anyone about and kept as a secret for the rest of her life. The nightmare was so horrible and embarrassing that every time she remembered her nightmare, she was disturbed. Her life became a nightmare of sorts because of that nightmare.
Actually this kind of scenario is very rare in real life. The fact is that we tend to forget our dreams and nightmares soon after waking up. Even before we get up from bed, most of the content of our dream has already evaporated from our memory. We remember only very few, if any, of our dreams and nightmares in the rest of our lives. The ones we remember for a while are the ones which were extremely interesting or shocking for us, or those we had the chance to tell other people about on many occasions, which kept our memory of them alive. Ask yourself how many of your dreams and nightmares you still remember. I bet very few, if any.
The interesting thing is that we forget even the most vivid of our dreams and most frightful of our nightmares in the twinkling of an eye (unless our memory of them is reinforced by telling other people about them or by intentional recalling, for example). We forget our dreams even though some of them are more vibrant than certain waking experiences which we remember for much longer time.
Psychologists and brain physiologists tell us that dreams serve a useful function for our brain. So we have to have them. But it seems we also have to forget them fast after having them. I think there is a simple evolutionary explanation of this phenomenon. If we were to remember our dreams long after we woke up, we would be disposed to confuse the memories of our dreams with the memories of our waking experiences. Suppose I have a dream in which a friend of mine does something evil to me or an enemy of mine does a big favor for me. If my brain were to retain as lively a memory of that dream as the memories of my real life experiences, I might mistakenly think the contents of my dream correspond to some real experiences of mine that occurred in the past, and my attitude towards my friend or towards my enemy would unnecessarily be affected by that mistake. Such disorientations clearly would have negative survival value and therefore would be blocked by the mechanisms of human evolution. Hence the elusiveness of our dream contents.*