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Author Topic: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?  (Read 5616 times)

Offline neilep

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Dearest Wonder Clever Bods,

You know when you're deperately trying to recall a fact or a snippet of info and just cant remember it ?...and then hours later, maybe even the next day you have a ' eureka ' moment and the answer you were thinking of just appears in your mind ?...well, why does that happen ?...

You're happily getting on with life having given up on trying to recall the answer and then WHAM..there it is.  One assumes that somewhere in the subconscious your brain is still trying to relocate the info eh ?

Why's that then ?

Hopefully by the time you have read this far you won't have forgotten to comment.

Ta.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #1 on: 04/11/2005 20:43:43 »
Baddeley and Hitch (1974) suggests that any given memory component can only be used in 1 task at a time. Therefore if 2 tasks try to access the same component, that which began last will fail. The central executive function maintains a "schedule" of tasks to be performed & eventually it will get to the task in question. There is, to the best of my knowledge, no hypothesis as to how this is done nor where in the brain this central executive is located.
I believe this model has some merit but I don't think it addresses the fundamental difference between memory & recall. Memory is the data that is stored, and recall is how we access that data. You can think of it as a cupboard full of books. If you can't open the door to the cupboard, you can't get at the books.
I therefore think your question should be about recall not memory. Unfortunately we don't have a clue about how recall actually works. Despite the brain having been extensively mapped, the actual mechanism involved in recall is still shrouded in mystery.
That's probably not much help, is it [|)]

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Offline neilep

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #2 on: 04/11/2005 21:03:46 »
Thanks Eth, your post is valid and of most interest. It may not answer the question directly but is certainly related. I'm just wondering why it takes hours then for the brain to deal with the task in hand, especially when the requirement for the data is immediate. Incidentally, Ido think my question is about recall, recall of memory.

It's in a  similar vain to a question I posed once before about memory recall....about how do we know the things we know we know but sometimes find it difficult to recall them...

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #3 on: 06/11/2005 01:54:26 »
Neil - It's a very perplexing subject & the truth of the matter is we just don't know. We know that the brain works by the firing of electrical current between networks of neurons, but what makes any given neuron fire is not known. If any neurologists read this they may be able to give more insight into the actual physical mechanisms involved.
We don't even know exactly how memories are stored let alone how they are retieved.
« Last Edit: 06/11/2005 16:18:23 by DoctorBeaver »
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #4 on: 06/11/2005 01:56:42 »
P.S. It's bloody typical that 1 of the few questions on my alleged field of expertise is 1 I can't answer! :(
 

Offline Simmer

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #5 on: 06/11/2005 16:04:05 »
It's quite straightforward really guys, came to me in a flash actually - what happens is that the brain...er...no, damnit, it's gone again! [:(!]
 

Offline Thondar

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #6 on: 07/11/2005 11:46:21 »
I think it is because your head is more relaxed or more free of thinking, it has happened to me when i'm trying to solve something and suddenly I get looped in my answer and can't get out of the error, and when I go to bed and i'm falling sleep my mind says "OOoohhh I get it now" and its done.

Or when you are doing something else completly different than the problem in your head and the solution just appears in your head.
But I still think that I think better while I'm sleep, the nonesense is so right and obvious that just don't give a damn. (that doesn't make any sense haha)

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Offline DrN

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #7 on: 08/11/2005 12:20:08 »
maybe your brain is just going through all the possible answers one by one and so is actually recalling loads of data over those hours, but you don't notice because you don't receive the correct answer, until suddennly - the right answer appears! you recognise it as being the answer you wanted, so of course you notice that the data has been recalled from your memory. just a thought.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #8 on: 08/11/2005 13:42:36 »
Thanks all for your incites into this biological phenomena.  I know it could be so easy to find our way into the realms of supernatural and spiritual thought but I'm not even going to go down that route. I certainly agree Thondar that once you've stopped thinking about it how easily the answer comes sometimes, it must be akin to when writers get ' writers block'  and have to distance themselves form their work before finding inspiration again...or anybody working on anything for that matter.

Lindsay that an interesting speculation about the brain filtering through hours of data. I wonder why it takes so long ?....perhaps where normally a direct route to the answer is, in some cases the the brain decides to take the long way round.

I gather we all agree with Eth, that we may never figure it out.....yet...

I'm just wondering do you think we are biologically/chemically (and all the other 'allys') designed to not discover the nature of the mind ?...for if we did, it would be a culture shock of such consequence to have discovered the answer to what really makes us tick ?

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Offline Andrew K Fletcher

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #9 on: 08/11/2005 14:28:36 »
I think it might be like buying a new car, you don't notice how many there are on the road untill you got one yourself.

Trying to think of a certain memory, you may be priming your mind in the same pattern of thinking and recognise where you have stored the memory you are trying to recall. during the following hours / days / weeks, you then encounter one part of the path to the memory and hey presto, I forgot what I was saying :)

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Offline DrN

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #10 on: 08/11/2005 21:15:49 »
more about this filtering of data for hours until you get the right one thingy, I remember in psychology learning something about pathways to certain memories - what if the pathway designated at the time of laying the memory is changed. e.g. neuronal highway 424, first left, second right, third bookcase on the left, second shelf down, five books from the left. so maybe the book was moved, or maybe even your highways have been modified (a new roundabout maybe?). perhaps the brain then has to start browsing the shelves to find where its been put back, and this is what takes the time - finding it again and designating a new path to find it quickly next time.
 

Offline neilep

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #11 on: 08/11/2005 21:35:35 »
Why would the brain change the pathway to a specific memory without making a note of where the data is ?....Perhaps the brain likes to defragment itself every so often ?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #12 on: 08/11/2005 23:55:03 »
quote:
so maybe the book was moved


Lindsay - it's interesting you should say that, it fits in with my theory of dreams. My hypothesis is that what we call dreams is the brain doing housekeeping. Memories that we haven't accessed for a long while are shifted further back. But this is done in parallel not series, which explains why dreams are more-often-than-not nonsensical.
Imagine it thus - you have to move all the words from a book to a new location. Instead of taking them 1 at a time in the right order, you take the 1st words from all of the chapters, then all of the 2nd words & so on. When you get to where they are now to be stored, you once again sort them. Once all the words have been transferred, the book is again complete & coherent. However, during transit, if you were to read those words they would be a complete nonsense. It is that transit that we perceive as dreams.
Our memories have therefore been moved to a new location, just as Lindsay postulated, & new pathways need to be made to access them.
I haven't as yet thought of a way of testing this hypothesis so, for now at least, it remains merely that - a hypothesis. We do, though, know that the brain processes in parallel so parallel transfer is, I believe, more probable than serial transfer.
 

Offline DrN

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #13 on: 09/11/2005 00:00:52 »
quote:
Why would the brain change the pathway to a specific memory without making a note of where the data is ?....


unless the brain was in the process of retrieving the data at some point, not necessarily this particular attempt at retrieval, but got interupted. like when you're doing something and are interupted by something else, so you put your keys/wallet/phone down, then can't remember where you put it!

interesting about the dreams. i wonder if we'll ever be able to unravel these mysteries!
 

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Re: Involuntary memory recall ! what's that all about?
« Reply #13 on: 09/11/2005 00:00:52 »

 

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