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Sunday, July 28, 2013

A couple of interesting personal discoveries about memory of facts and events

This morning, I awoke with an inspired understanding of some recent events, and consequently, I made a couple of interesting discoveries about myself.

One is that my ability to navigate a simple file structure on a computer is dependent on the familiarity of the colors used by the display. If the "wrong" colors are used, I am confused, and cannot read or make sense of the file structure, but if the elements of the display are familiar colors such as black, gray, and shades of blue, I do fine. The same structure composed of shades of green looks totally foreign to me, and I cannot discern what I am seeing.

The second discovery I made, while pondering how remarkable it is that I can remember recently learned facts, but not events, was in recognizing that I have recently had a number of arguments with my kids when I am annoyed they don't know something I know, and the argument always comes to me recalling an event associated with the knowledge that all three kids insist never happened. Further, I have been able to recognize evidence of me making foolish choices in the past because I DID NOT KNOW that crucial information at the time. Soooo, apparently, in order to remember facts, I am inventing personal history on which to "hang" those facts, since my event memory since my accident in 2011 has been extremely deficient, and until very recently, I have had no event memory at all, depending on my journals (and the process of writing those journal entries) to remember personal history. Until recently, I was claiming I had no event memory since my accident, except for a short window around immediate events. I can usually recall enough things about the last few days to get by, and though my event memory going back a couple of weeks is very limited, I can even get by discussing what happened in the last couple of weeks.


However, when my daughter Audra was talking with me about the recent Superman movie, I told her I hadn't seen it. She reminded me we went together to see it on her birthday. I clearly remember that we went to a movie on her birthday, and that I enjoyed the movie. I even remember "facts" learned within the context of that movie that relate to my understanding of the various Superman stories, but I connect those facts to various Superman cartoons and television shows like "Lois and Clark" instead of realizing that the ideas were first presented in that movie I "never saw."

I hang my hope on my own recognition of this deficiency, and on the fact that my event memory does seem to be improving. For the last two weeks, I can remember the first few hours of every day. However, each day feels like it lasted about three hours....

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