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Friday, May 3, 2013

How is it possible to enjoy a show I cannot track?


(The Time Tunnel, 1966)
I watched an episode of a television show (sorry, I don't remember what show) on ABC's website. After watching the show, there was a survey asking about whether I am likely to respond to their advertising. Seeing that I had another browser tab open where I had located and marked one of the commercials to save for later review, I marked "yes." Then it asked me all kinds of details about who the sponsor was, what the product was, and details about the show. I could not recall anything about the commercials or the show, only that I had enjoyed the show.

How is it possible, I wondered, to enjoy a show I cannot track long enough to even answer a survey about it moments later?

Then the answer became apparent. It does not take event memory to enjoy a show. It only requires remembering facts and contexts to follow most television scripts. This is why I regularly watch the same episodes and enjoy them just as much, but often not recognizing I already saw the episode until I encounter some key scene that I recall.


My event memory is not TOTALLY missing, but it is a fraction of what it used to be. However, memory for facts seems almost augmented, and with the use of software to track events (such as opening a tab to bookmark a commercial) the combination of remembered facts and copious journalling makes up for lack of event memory.

It is strange to contemplate, but frankly, my pre-accident memories have a sequential quality that is missing from my post-accident memories. Time is difficult for me to judge in terms of estimating minutes, hours, or weeks or months, everything that happened more than a week ago seems far distant, yet specific memorable events seem like they just happened.

And here's another detail that makes no sense: I constantly get myself into trouble being on time because a half-hour can seem like five minutes, yet if you just surprise me with a question like "what time is it," my first gut reaction will usually be correct within two minutes.

How can these things be?


Photo Credit:Cobert, R. (Performer), & Darrin, J. (Performer), Allen, I. (Writer), Martin, S. (Director) (1966). 
          In Allen, I. (Executive Producer), The Time Tunnel. American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

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