Mr Güntürkün, have you forgotten today is actually something?
Yes of course, unfortunately, very much. I could tell you, for example, spontaneously, what I worked today so between nine and ten o’clock, without reconstructing it on the basis of many other Details. I also remember that my wife wore this morning a pair of Jeans, and when I tell them that occurs to me, that it was yesterday, a Rock. But – I can say that my wife never – I forget how the skirt looked. This may seem rude, but to be honest, we have to be glad that we can forget.
Why should we be for our miserable memory also grateful for?
Because the amount of information that pour in every second, to us, is beyond what can handle our brain. Most of what we see, hear, feel, rushing through our brains, without leaving a trace. It is immediately filtered out. We can call Forget this fact, but actually the information has been processed, never deep. What we call memory, is the result of many filtering processes, and then goes to the usual wear and tear.
The majority of people, it annoys me, when you have a melody in your head and not in the song title of can’t remember when the Name comes to mind a well-Known make, but easy for you. You would say: “just relax, everything is not a Problem?”
No, Forget it can of course be an incredibly annoying thing. I used to be able to listen to, for example, lectures and even after ten years, the content is relatively easy to understand. Today, I must have a notebook with me and write there, otherwise the new Knowledge quickly disappeared. That annoys me. It is how to wear a pair of glasses, so impractical. And then something else added to this is: Who would not have fear of being demented? It is one of the primal Fears of modern man. To be able to remember anything is a terrible condition.
When we talk about memory, we often use metaphors such as hard disk, archive, library. The idea that memory was a place where you can place something forever, and to Remember means to find the way to this place. These images are outdated?
You are missed, as you suggest immutability and stability. This is wrong. The brain is not a Computer, but a living Organ, and constant change processes. Every Time we recall a memory, it is not in danger. Because in the Moment we activate it, it is flexible. Plastic. Malleable. And we are ready to change. To delete, De facto, even. The Forgotten is an almost more powerful process than Learning, and that’s why I find him so exciting. He scares us when he is sick, at the same time its usefulness is not observed frequently at all.
How densely Packed nerve cells? Where, when, what? Research needs animal models, such as these preparations of the deaf and narrow minds.
If in the brain, everything is constantly in motion, so how do we then at all have a clear thought?
Among other things, by deleting certain memory content. This is important, so-called principled or categorical memories. If you think of your mother, the first boyfriend or first girlfriend, or your living room, then they form basic memories, categories. You don’t save the tiny daily variations in the face of your mother, not even the light that falls every day is different in your living room, or the chair, of the is never exactly in the same place – all of which will not remain in your memory, but the basic memory is constantly updated. Without categories, we would drown in a flood of deja-vu. We would constantly see the day our Sofa in the living room and would say that every Time, ah, this Sofa I have ever seen.
We can add, Vice versa, our memories of Details that never really happened?
In everyday life this often happens. Just think of the way old people talk about their Childhood. The number of great child, that is, is, if you give them faith, inflationary. The goods in your memory always be smarter and more diligent than the boys and always knew everything. Somehow can’t because something is wrong. We accumulate memories, with our present Knowledge. This is done without ill will.
We are masters of self-deception?
We have only interpreted the memories of our lives and are willing to give us some things to glossing. You recall for example what you thought in the mid-80s, about the GDR and the wall?
On Styrofoam heads to dry the electrodes used for EEG measurements
I thought the division of Germany is normal and will always exist.
So it went, the great majority of the German people. You have perceived the division and the wall as something that is experienced in your life, no changes. Most people thought: I’m going to die, but the wall will still be there. This Knowledge of the wall is in various neuronal switching of the barbed wire, the guard towers circles-coded, and the feelings that we associate with all of this. If you remember today, on the wall, are these old neural Connections in a flexible way. The same time, a different network of neurons is active, the one in which you stored your new Knowledge – the wall is gone. Both circuits are simultaneously active. Then you can establish a synaptic connection between them. You think that the wall is gone and they remember her Disappearance. The combination of the present and old Knowledge is active at the same time and forming a new memory trace, which complemented the old track, or be replaced. Thus, the old memory is stored again, and in such a way that it is expanded a bit this new. And in five years they are one of the people in Germany who say: “I knew already at that time: The wall will not last forever. At the time I told my friend, Cem, and called me crazy.”
If our brain is not as susceptible to whisperings and manipulations, one can distinguish there anything wrong of the right memories?
Yes, in principle. However, we need to create an awareness of how fragile memories are. If we understand these mechanisms of remembering and forgetting is better, we are at risk also less. We know that you can tell people false memories, for example, of offences. These deeds are in the brain, they are represented by neurons. The Catastrophic consequence of such “false memories” is that innocent people can go to jail because witnesses things, the report never happened. Without the witnesses deliberately lie.
On the other hand, the Victims will be quickly that you can only imagine and fantasize a fact. Is there a way out?
The police work has become since the great debates about “false memories” is better. You can’t create the Problem, but it is smaller.