Question Lady Question

The Question Lady writes:

How would you describe your memory? Mine is so arbitrary: I can memorize 10,000 words, but can’t remember whether or not I turned off the stove after I leave the house. I have a horrible time with people’s names five minutes after I meet them, but can remember phone numbers for years.

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11 Responses to Question Lady Question

  1. Fabrizio del Wrongo says:

    Mine’s gotten worse over the years. Names I’m terrible with. Also, I used to have a great memory for movies, but now I will forget ’em pretty quickly, especially if I didn’t like them very much to begin with.


  2. Fenster says:

    i remember what my unconscious wants me to remember. I have limited control. I am a finance professional in the nonprofit area. For some reason if you expose me to facts and background on higher education it sticks to me right away. But as much as I was exposed as a finance person to health care, I still forget the difference between Medicare and Medicaid, and so have been unable to morph a background in one side of nonprofit finance to another. I just don’t give a sh*t about health care I guess, at some deep level. Don’t care about hospitals, doctors, policy, the whole shootin match. At least I assume this has been the decision of my unconscious on the basis of the observation of my behavior.

    As to names: when you are more of an introvert, like me, your mind can take in everything about a situation–this after years of experience being the observer. Except the names. When I am at an event I see and file away everything but the new names. It is like the blank spot on Rosemary Wood’s tape–just not there.


  3. epiminondas says:

    Just wait till you hit 60. It’s like having your hard drive suddenly too full to put any more data on it.


  4. Sir Barken Hyena says:

    I’m like you QL, names are terrible but I also remember perfectly a song I recorded in 1986 even though shortly after I lost the master tape and have never heard or tried to play it since. Got it note for note…and it’s not even good!


  5. My personal RAM maxed out about five years ago. I don’t seem to be able to retain any new information (let alone learn any new skills) at all. Which leads to all kinds of subversive thoughts and reactions when the usual Powers That Be go on about how the country really needs to force people to work for more decades than they’re already working. Do they have any idea what a 60 year old mind is like? Let alone a 60 year old back? Let alone how unwilling — for good and bad reasons — 60-year-olds are to take seriously any boss who’s under 50 years old?


  6. dearieme says:

    Mine has been poor all my life. Fortunately I learnt to write things down.


  7. junedentzer says:

    I can’t remember names ever. I never forget faces. I can’t keep a movie plot in my head for long, but if I’ve seen a film I can always remember if I liked it. Numbers leave my head immediately, so when I’m working I have numbers scribbled all over my hand


  8. Fenster says:

    Here’s something from NPR on this issue–the Beatles contribution to brain science. It’s about how people remember.

    A scientist, Josef Rauschecker, discusses the musical memory thing S. B, Hyena mentions above with reference to Michelle. Check–I have that song note for note and word for word in my head even though I don’t think I’ve heard the actual sounds in many years.

    Memory issues also extended to song order:

    “Years later I would put on one of these old LPs and then you know at the end of one track you immediately start singing the next one,” he says, “as if it was all stored in your brain as a continuous sort of story.”

    That intrigued Rauschecker, who by this time was a brain scientist at Georgetown. He kept wondering which part of his brain knew the order of all those sequences of Beatles songs.

    “The funny thing is that if you ask me now what comes after ‘Michelle’ or whatever I wouldn’t know,” he says. “It’s not explicit knowledge. But if you hear it, then you can immediately continue singing it.”

    So immediately I thought: well, if I run the Michelle track through to the end in my mind, I will correctly guess the next song. But I found it hard to do. At first I thought it might be “You Won’t See Me” but that didn’t feel right. Then I got it: Michelle is the last track on side one, and I remember the LP version.


  9. I’m the same with numbers yet a high school friend bumps into me and I hope they remind me who they are. When I find I’m forgetting things I just did or was about to do I try to slow down and breath.


  10. greg says:

    My memory is also random. Frustrated, I looked for and then discovered a very good article on memory retention. Now I can’t find it…sigh.


  11. Blowhard, Esq. says:

    It’s always been good, but I’ve noticed it getting worse over the years. Could also be that all the lawcrap I had to memorize for school pushed out the more interesting stuff.


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