Divided Attention

.. lled. We memorize information so much more easily if we are able to see the whole picture and understand it to the extent that we are able to organize it. Organizing material makes learning easier because by understanding something it reduces the amount of information to be remembered. That is because we think of the elements of an idea as constituents in an interconnected whole.

We then enter the package whole into memory rather than it’s separate components. By integrating and unifying the information with past knowledge it reduces the effort needed to remember whatever information needs to be learned. With this knowledge at hand I have finally answered a question I have tormented my grade school teachers with; why do we have to know this? I would have liked an educated answer back then but unfortunately it was not offered. I now know that the knowledge I obtained from grade school set forth a foundation for my knowledge I obtained in high school which in turn built a layer for my understanding of material I am learning in college. State Dependent Memory I found this topic of state dependent memory very interesting.

I did have a vague understanding of state dependent memory; it wasn’t till I read the detailed description of it in our book that I really grasped the idea. I was able to interrelate it possibly with a psychological disorder called post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and the problems with coming back to civilian life. After reading the text I speculated that state dependent memory of wartime events could be triggered if a stimulus was to be generalized in some fashion to a stimulus present in a war environment. My best friend’s dad was in Vietnam and suffers from post traumatic stress disorder I have spent countless nights drinking with him listening to his stories and firing questions. He has told me his war time memories in such detail I am going to use them in some shape or fashion to write a book.

He has told be that when he gets really stressed out he loses awareness and is in battle again. I believe that the stress is the connected state dependent memory. He is able to relive the horrible torment of war only in the presents of extreme stress since those memories were entered into his long -term memory during that emotional state. Further evidence of state dependent memory is how I seem to recall information so much better and quicker when I have a cup of coffee. This is because there is not a night that goes buy that I don’t have a cup of coffee when I’m studying.

The coffee must effect me on a multitude of levels including olfactory and taste not to mention the arousal of mood experienced by the caffeine. Misleading Eyewitnesses I found the texts explanation of how eyewitness testimony could be tainted with errors very interesting yet at the same time very disturbing. I found it interesting how old information could become entangled with new information and perceived as the actual event even though the new information was obtained later. Both pieces of information were integrated into a whole. I also found it interesting how the manipulation of an adjective could change ones perception of an event. People draw inferences on a wide variety of things and will assume the presence of an object even if it is not there. Eyewitness testimony has been the key factor in putting many innocent men and women behind bars. Prosecutors know the tricks of the trade and by choosing there questions and carefully picking there adjectives they can get the eyewitness to make statements that are total lies or exaggerations of the truth and in most cases the witness is not aware of the reality of the truth. Leading an eyewitness with certain questions consumes a majority of the opposition’s objections.

I also saw a 20/20 episode where a guy when into room with a bunch of kids while being observed by researchers in a two way mirror, he played with the children read them a story and maybe rough housed with them a bit. Some of the children were simply asked what the man did and they answered accurately to the actual event the other children were asked leading questions and asked if they remembered the man touching them. At what point did you feel uncomfortable when he touched you? What did he do that made you feel uncomfortable? The first time around most of the kids told the truth. A week later after being primed about unacceptable touching the children came up with some remarkable statements shocking and unbelievable, so unbelievable I still suspend the validity of that particular piece. Activation Levels and Response threshold The fact that some neurons are easier to activate than others interests me but from a biological standpoint I am confused.

I know that the resting potential of a neuron is -70mv and when activated it jumps to +50mv. The firing of neurons in my understanding has to do with mainly the charged isotopes sodium and potassium passing in and out of pumps or channels which then send an weak electric impulse down the neurons axon which is covered by the myelin sheath which is a phospholipid bi-layer that acts as a semi-conductor hence allowing the weak impulse to travel great distances in the neuro-network. I also know that an excited neuron decreases its charge quite quickly. What I don’t understand is how different detectors have different response thresholds. The book explains it’s self well I just need to some how better parallel this knowledge with my biological knowledge therefore giving me a more concrete understanding.

It says that detectors that have fired recently will have a higher baseline level. What time frame are we talking here? How many msec? It also says detectors that have fired frequently in the past will gradually gain a higher and higher baseline level. Is this because of more dense connections? The strengthening of connection? How does this occur? I do understand their explanation of these phenomena when it comes to priming, but in other facets I do not. Psychology.