Tuesday, December 04, 2007

TO WRITE: Your Memory
The New York Times ran a story this morning about chimpanzees who have better short-term memories than humans. Wow. We arrogant humans like to think we're better than all the rest in the thinking department. But when chimps and humans played a computer game in which numbers in randomly placed squares were flashed at them, and they were asked to indicate the squares in numeric sequence, the chimps bested us when the numbers were flashed very quickly. Their short-term memories were stronger.

Memory is being studied a lot lately, perhaps because so many baby-boomers are reaching an age when they begin noticing problems finding words and names. But we with mood disorders know a lot about memory problems already. If the depression doesn't cause difficulties in recall, it seems to be the medicines we take or, in some cases, the ECT we've had.

Play with this. . .
Describe your own memory function. Do you have any problems? Have they changed since you were younger, or perhaps since you've been ill or had certain treatments? Do you have any stories or examples? And how is the memory of those you know -- has this affected your relationship with aging parents, for example? Try to write continuously for 20 minutes; if you feel you've "finished" before that time is up, go ahead and descibe one of your own very vivid memories.

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