Sioux Falls Atheists
Sioux Falls Atheists and Atheism, Agnostics and Humanism

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Memory and the Human Lifespan for explaining
how our memory works, how our short-term memories are consolidated
into long-term memory during sleep, how we access our memories
for the information we need daily to survive and reproduce.

Memory and the Human Lifespan
Lectures by Professor Steve Joordens

Memory and the Human Lifespan (2011)
24 lectures, 12 hours
Memory and the Human Lifespan at TheGreatCourses.com

What if your memory suddenly vanished? What if you could no longer summon up any recollections of your mother's embrace, a best friend's confidences, or the moment you first met your spouse? What if you couldn't even remember yourself - not your name, your school, where you worked, or even the face of the total stranger staring back at you from the mirror?

If all of these memories were gone, would "self" even have a meaning?

The truth is that while you may think of human memory as a capacity - a way to call up important facts or episodes from your past - it is much, much more.

Your various memory systems, in fact, provide the continuity of consciousness that allows the concept of "you" to make sense, creating the ongoing narrative that makes your life truly yours. Without those systems and the overall experience of memory they make possible, you would have no context for the most crucial decisions of your life. You would have to make - without the benefit of experience and knowledge - the decisions that determine not only your quality of life, but your very survival. And your ability to learn, or even to form the personality that makes you unique, would similarly be set adrift.

In Memory and the Human Lifespan, Professor Steve Joordens of the University of Toronto Scarborough, who has been repeatedly honored as both teacher and researcher, leads you on a startling voyage into the human mind, explaining not only how the various aspects of your memory operate, but the impact memory has on your daily experience of life.

His 24 riveting lectures carefully explain

  • the different kinds of systems that come together to make memory possible;
  • how those systems work together to build and access memories of specific events, solve problems, learn basic tasks like brushing your teeth, or acquire the skills to play a musical instrument;
  • the kinds of memory deficits that result when various parts of the brain are damaged or deteriorate;
  • how memory shapes not only your experience of the past but also of the present, as well as your expectations of the future;
  • how your memory systems develop throughout your life; and much more.

Moreover, by understanding how the brain organizes and encodes information, you can better harness its extraordinary powers to fine-tune how it works for you and use this information to help reshape your very experience of being alive.

Professor Steve Joordens is Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough, where he has taught for more than 15 years. An expert on human memory and consciousness, he has been honored repeatedly for his insightful research and engaging teaching. Among his awards are the President's Teaching Award, the University of Toronto Scarborough's highest honor, and the Leadership in Faculty Teaching Award.

24 Lectures - 30 minutes each

1: Memory Is a Party 13: Animal Cognition and Memory
2: The Ancient "Art of Memory" 14: Mapping Memory in the Brain
3: Rote Memorization and a Science of Forgetting 15: Neural Network Models
4: Sensory Memory - Brief Traces of the Past 16: Learning from Brain Damage and Amnesias
5: The Conveyor Belt of Working Memory 17: The Many Challenges of Alzheimer's Disease
6: Encoding - Our Gateway into Long-Term Memory 18: That Powerful Glow of Warm Familiarity
7: Episodic and Semantic Long-Term Memory 19: Déjà Vu and the Illusion of Memory
8: The Secret Passage - Implicit Memory 20: Recovered Memories or False Memories?
9: From Procedural Memory to Habit 21: Mind the Gaps! Memory as Reconstruction
10: When Memory Systems Battle - Habits vs. Goals 22: How We Choose What's Important to Remember
11: Sleep and the Consolidation of Memories 23: Aging, Memory, and Cognitive Transition
12: Infant and Early Childhood Memory 24: The Monster at the End of the Book

 

8-31-16 Why forgetting is actually good for you
Why forgetting is actually good for you
Stop trying to improve your memory. You don't need to remember everything. But, alongside the studies telling us how to keep our memories intact, an enormous body of research has led to another conclusion: In many cases, it's okay (and in fact, beneficial) to forget. Human memory is not only unreliable, but often partially or wholly false. And certain kinds of forgetting is actually really good for us. Every time we retrieve a memory, the brain delivers a partial picture, one that's less like a computer document and more like a slice of Swiss cheese. Those cheesy holes get filled in with information that may or may not be true. Then, when we are finished with the new version of the memory, the brain consolidates and "repacks" it, losing some facts and keeping some of that sketchy filler that's part truth and part fabrication. The more times we retrieve and recount a memory, the less trustworthy it becomes.

2-8-16 Your brain activity for memory tasks changes with the seasons
Your brain activity for memory tasks changes with the seasons
It's well known that for some people, mood is tied to the time of year. Now it seems something similar happens for other cognitive functions. Although their test scores didn’t change with the seasons, activity in some brain areas showed a consistent seasonal pattern among the volunteers: brain activity peaked in the summer on the attention task and in the autumn on the memory task. Many seasonally changing factors could regulate such a pattern, including day length, temperature, humidity, social interaction and physical activity. Since these weren’t all controlled for in the study, it’s impossible to say what is responsible for the seasonal changes seen.

12-23-15 Sleep isn't needed to create long-term memories – just time out
Sleep isn't needed to create long-term memories – just time out
Sitting for 10 minutes with no stimulation helps people remember new information, suggesting we consolidate memories without the need to sleep on it. Need to remember something important? Take a break. A proper one – no TV or flicking through your phone messages. It seems that resting in a quiet room for 10 minutes without stimulation can boost our ability to remember new information. The effect is particularly strong in people with amnesia, suggesting that they may not have lost the ability to form new memories after all. “A lot of people think the brain is a muscle that needs to be continually stimulated, but perhaps that’s not the best way,” says Michaela Dewar at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, UK. New memories are fragile. They need to be consolidated before being committed to long-term storage, a process thought to happen while we sleep. But at least some consolidation may occur while we’re awake, says Dewar – all you need is a timeout.

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Memory and the Human Lifespan
Lectures by Professor Steve Joordens

Sioux Falls Atheists endorse Memory and the Human Lifespan for explaining
how our memory works, how our short-term memories are consolidated
into long-term memory during sleep, how we access our memories
for the information we need daily to survive and reproduce.