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Hello everyone

During the last sleepless night, some thoughts crossed my mind, and I wanted to share them with you and ask your opinion/points of view regarding them.

The idea would be that the human brain maps, registers, and saves every single location a human being has ever been, and that, should we have the means to do so, a "route" could be mapped for every human being, from the moment they were born, until the moment they died.

Useless, of course, but I wondered whether this could be the case.

After all, our vestibular systems start working quite early; as do our memory circuits. Could it be possible that, from the moment your vestibular system was active, it would register any acceleration across and around any axis, the duration of the acceleration, and that your brain would register the duration of absence of acceleration, until further acceleration or deceleration occurs?

For example: a child sits on a chair. It stands up (acceleration in both ventral and cranial directions), turns right (rotational acceleration) for 90°, starts walking (again an acceleration), turns 90° back to the left (rotational acceleration), and sits down on another chair (acceleration in dorsal and caudal directions).

The idea here would be that the vestibular system detects any acceleration and deceleration (which are not mentioned here), the duration of an acceleration/deceleration, and that your brain could register the duration of absence of acceleration. Like so, it would theoretically become possible to reconstruct the path the child has done: ventrocranial acceleration and steady movement, stop, rotational acceleration and steady movement, stop, ventral acceleration and steady movement, stop, rotational acceleration (or deceleration when compared to the other rotation) and steady movement, stop, dorsocaudal acceleration (or ventrocranial deceleration) and steady movement, stop.

I don't know if it's clear what I mean, but if this were indeed the case, to me this would sound like the positional path of every human could be retrieved and mapped, from the moment they were born, until the moment they died, since every position we've been in could be explained in function of all acceleration, decelerations, and steady movements we've done in our lives.

This is nothing more than a thought experiment, of course, and yields not much practical consequences. But I was wondering whether you would think this would be plausible, or rather far-fetched and unlikely, due to limited storage capacities within our (spatial) memory ...

I was also wondering whether this might contribute to so-called déjà vus. Indeed, one may experience a déjà vu based on what one sees or hears or whatever; but could a pure spatial déjà vu also be experienced purely by means of our vestibular system and memory? As if our brains would understand that, if we've been to B (from point A) before in our lives, and now we take a route to the same point B, but from another point (C), the combination of vestibular activity and duration of steady movements would lead us indeed to this point B?

Regards

F

Edited by Function

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There may be more behind this than you realise, though proper research is the way forward.
It is OK to speculate as to what might be the consequences, but experiment must lead the way.

I say this because last week I was (half) listening to a BBC programme about research being done on memory and spatial awareness.
The researchers (Oxford University I think) discovered a section of the brain which greatly increases activity when we are thinking about spatial/location information and seems to tuck away this along with situational information into the long term memory.
Apparantly we remember things better if we can associate location with a subject, recognised by some memory training techniques.

The researchers were able to show that if the location part is suppressed for some reason the situational memory often does not make it to the long term memory and is lost.

They also managed to associate this process with old age degenerative (mental) conditions, where apparantly the locational information is lost first.

 

Sorry this is a bit rambling, but I am am trying quickly to remember  :) the main points .

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I would use an implant with a tiny fast gps-network card and utilize existing technologies instead of implanting the infrastructure into the body. 
Presumably all you mentioned could be measured with current technology using an implant like that, the use of having such information could be put into medical use - you could graph the data into a an 80 year time frame, visulalize all kinds of events on various time frames/scales, corelate with ones medical record and compare with thousands of other impant users. If I was a pharmaceutical company I'd love to have this kind of data over ones life time. 

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7 hours ago, studiot said:

There may be more behind this than you realise, though proper research is the way forward.
It is OK to speculate as to what might be the consequences, but experiment must lead the way.

I say this because last week I was (half) listening to a BBC programme about research being done on memory and spatial awareness.
The researchers (Oxford University I think) discovered a section of the brain which greatly increases activity when we are thinking about spatial/location information and seems to tuck away this along with situational information into the long term memory.
Apparantly we remember things better if we can associate location with a subject, recognised by some memory training techniques.

The researchers were able to show that if the location part is suppressed for some reason the situational memory often does not make it to the long term memory and is lost.

They also managed to associate this process with old age degenerative (mental) conditions, where apparantly the locational information is lost first.

 

Sorry this is a bit rambling, but I am am trying quickly to remember  :) the main points .

I think it has been well established that spatial memory is very well developed and uses distinct pathways, though there are overlaps with visual memory elements. However, rather obviously the brain does not store that amount of detail as outlined by OP. Most of the movements described will have no impact on the subject and will therefore not be reinforced as a memory pattern.

De ja vu in the simplest sense seems to be a misclassification issue. Similarities to memorized events do reinforce the sensation, but so do certain impairments (e.g. sleep deprivation).

That being said, the vestibular system contributes to spatial memory, but probably not in a bottom up way as described in OP (i.e. detail information are stored and then used to reconstruct a memory, piece by piece), Rather in a situation where spatial memories are built and reinforced, (e.g. navigating through an environment in one's mind) information of the vestibular systems seems to contribute to details, e.g. assisting in positioning oneself in a given memory, building perspective etc.

In my uneducated mind it it works like additional information that pads out visual cues and assist in forming a more accurate (as far as memories go) spatial representation. 

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