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layman77

Do your eyes record and store everything you see?

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Just like a video camera does. I was told once by a psychiatric nurse who worked at a hospital that everything is recorded on your brain, not just sight either, that everything you've ever experienced is there, from all 5 of your senses. But the reason we can't recall it all is because most of it resided in our subconscious. You can remember specific facts when you specifically look for them, like phone numbers, addresses, passwords, directions, how to drive a car, etc. That your conscious is somewhat like a computer's RAM which stores something the computer is currently working, while the hard drive has information on all the data on the computer. If you view this, scientists are starting to use fMRI machines to read specific thoughts.

 

 

An experiment I'd like to try is have them focus on a few specific dates they can actually remember, and see what parts of the brain the machine reads. Of course, everyone's memory of a day is not unique to someone else's. Your 9/11 may not have been the same as mine, but I wonder if the day will ever come where you can focus on any date, basically take a video playback of any time in your life, that video cameras may even become obselete. And someone could give more than just testimony but a video of what actually happened.

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Just like a video camera does. I was told once by a psychiatric nurse who worked at a hospital that everything is recorded on your brain, not just sight either, that everything you've ever experienced is there, from all 5 of your senses. But the reason we can't recall it all is because most of it resided in our subconscious. You can remember specific facts when you specifically look for them, like phone numbers, addresses, passwords, directions, how to drive a car, etc. That your conscious is somewhat like a computer's RAM which stores something the computer is currently working, while the hard drive has information on all the data on the computer. If you view this, scientists are starting to use fMRI machines to read specific thoughts.

 

 

An experiment I'd like to try is have them focus on a few specific dates they can actually remember, and see what parts of the brain the machine reads. Of course, everyone's memory of a day is not unique to someone else's. Your 9/11 may not have been the same as mine, but I wonder if the day will ever come where you can focus on any date, basically take a video playback of any time in your life, that video cameras may even become obselete. And someone could give more than just testimony but a video of what actually happened.

 

 

do you mean putting a memory on a medium like film, exactly how you see it in your mind? or somehow transferring the memory directly to someone? that would be cool.

 

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do you mean putting a memory on a medium like film, exactly how you see it in your mind? or somehow transferring the memory directly to someone? that would be cool.

 

Well, yeah, say I could just put on a helmet, hooked up to a tv and say I want to look at June 1st 1990 from 8PM-9PM, and it displays what I saw. Is this possible?

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Well, yeah, say I could just put on a helmet, hooked up to a tv and say I want to look at June 1st 1990 from 8PM-9PM, and it displays what I saw. Is this possible?

 

I honestly have no idea.

 

but that would be incredible. I would like to do that with dreams, since mine are usually so absurd & indescribable in words.

 

I think that it could be possible. If we can recall a memory, then it has to be stored somehow in our brain, and there must be a way of tracing it & possibly recreating it.

 

but what's weird is, I think a memory is vivid, but when I try to recall random specifics, I can't.

 

basically, in day to day life in reality, I see what's around me & get an emotion from it. in my mind, it's the opposite. I really just have a feeling about the past situation that triggers the visuals tied to it.

 

are your memories THAT vivid that you think you could recreate them into a video? mine aren't -_-

Edited by Appolinaria

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I was told once by a psychiatric nurse who worked at a hospital that everything is recorded on your brain, not just sight either, that everything you've ever experienced is there, from all 5 of your senses. But the reason we can't recall it all is because most of it resided in our subconscious. You can remember specific facts when you specifically look for them, like phone numbers, addresses, passwords, directions, how to drive a car, etc. That your conscious is somewhat like a computer's RAM which stores something the computer is currently working, while the hard drive has information on all the data on the computer.

Pretty far out of the scope of practice for a psychiatric nurse, which should've been your first clue. Making claims that are essentially nondisprovable should've been your second.

 

A couple of decades of cognitive science is more than enough to crank this through the garbage disposal. In short, it's easily demonstrable that human memory does not function like a hard drive, and that recall is actually substantially comprised of what we'd usually refer to as "imagination." If this were not so, memory would not be so tragically easy to manipulate. Suppose I read out a list of words like bed, pillow, nap, rest, sheets, mattress, snooze, dream, etc. A few minutes later, I read out another list, and ask you to tell me whether these words showed up on the first list, or if they're new (this is what we call a "recognition" task.) The list might go something like this: car, bed, dog, streetlight, rest, sleep, doctor, sheets, dream. People do pretty well picking out the ones from the first list. They also do pretty well picking out "sleep," which wasn't on the first list, but they believe they heard a minute ago as vehemently as they do any of the other words. Why? Because their brain was never recording the words, and they were never really stored--in our now-familiar hard drive sense--in memory. The brain was recording a sort of cheat: "a bunch of words about sleep." We've replicated this a million times. I did it with intro psych students semester after semester (the experimental paradigm is a bit more complex than this, but I've given you the basics) and it always works out wonderfully.

 

If you want more information, look up the work of Beth Loftus. Her research systematically destroyed the "recovered memory" movement of the '80s and showed us a lot about how our efficient cognitive trickery functions to get us through the day without actually recording a whole hell of a lot of specifics.

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99% of the information your eye takes in is discarded. the rest of the information is heavily compressed and lossy at that. i imagine it is pretty much the same for your other senses as well.

 

while your brain has a tremendous storage capacity, it is finite. if every detail of sensory experience was permanently stored then you'd be out of room after a few years at the most.

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Makes you wonder why hypnotism is believed to recover memories that you believe were not consciously recorded in your brain at the time. Such matters as

,perhaps, a car registration number or a description of a person.

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see, thats some of the information you do store. you might not know you've stored it though which hypnosis can help with(but it doesn't always work). but you couldn't look at a tree and recall the location of every leaf. or which bricks on a wall were discoloured or the distribution of chewing gum on the pavement (sidewalk for the yanks). you would see all these things but your brain wouldn't even begin to try and store them unless you were conciously trying.

 

information like a registration plate or a face is 'important' information to your survival mechanisms so we've evolved to remember stuff like that (well, maybe not the registration plates) because it can be useful. although it is doubtful that this information would have a long retention time unless something else was associated with it.

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Makes you wonder why hypnotism is believed to recover memories that you believe were not consciously recorded in your brain at the time. Such matters as

,perhaps, a car registration number or a description of a person.

 

Well, it should indeed make you wonder: it's terribly unreliable. Part of Loftus' work was to show how easily processes like hypnosis--which was sometimes touted as being able to "recover" memory--could just as easily "implant" false memories that had never happened.

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I completely agree with PhDwannabe. From what we understand now, it is highly unlikely that the brain stores all sensory information encountered, but that this information is simply unavailable to the conscious mind. In fact, many of the low level sensory processing systems in the brain spend enormous energy in trying to reduce the dimensionality of the inputs it's receiving in attempts to extract the most salient and relevant pieces of information. Much of the rest of the "irrelevant" information is thought to be lost.

 

With respect to the video the OP posted, I'm fairly certain this work is referencing one of the following two papers by Tom Mitchell's group at CMU:

 

Shinkareva et al. (2008) PLoS One

 

Mitchell et al. (2008) Science

 

 

While this work is quite interesting, and a nice combination of neuroscience and machine learning techniques, it is far from what you might imagine to be "mind reading". In the second paper, the measure of "decoding" various nouns was simply a binary discrimination between two randomly chosen words resulting in statistically significant accuracies above chance. While impressive, this is far from decoding a single concept from an infinite sea of possible thoughts.

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As already mentioned, recovering memory is a creative processes. I.e. memories are recreated and not stored as a 1:1 representation. Moreover, on every level, starting at the retina, image information is heavily processed and only very limited, but often focused information actually reaches the brain (neglecting for the moment that eyes are actually part of the brain, too).

 

This is the reason why under highly suggestive conditions (as e.g. hypnosis) suddenly details may pop up (i.e. they were created on the spot and are barely distinguishable from real memories, provided such a distinction really exists).

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This is sort of a tricky subject, because if you watch a lot of violent things, then your subconscious becomes violent or more likely to take hostile action whether the violent actions you saw were in a functional movie or real life, so I think the recording works in much the same way that magnetism or gravity or sound waves work, which is that they get weaker and weaker as time goes on, but they don't disappear completely. Like right now we are being affected by the gravity of Pluto, which isn't much because it's so far away and at that distance gravity gets weak but never reaches 0. But, if there were 10000 Pluto's at that same distance, even though the individual gravity is weak, it's total effect would add up.

So if you watch only minor violent things or see them spaced apart greatly, your brain's ability to remember get's halved more and more as time goes on, but that never reaches 0 like with radioactive decay. I think Cornell discovered this process.

Edited by questionposter

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