The man with the seven second memory

During our psychology lectures, we have been educated on the storage and retrieval of information and the different types of memory and its vast process. When remembering something it just seems so easy to do however there is a wide process to recalling and retrieving information.

Throughout the lectures, one thing I really like is the real-life videos and documentaries that we have been shown, that explain different types of memories and the problems and extraordinary differences between them. One video, in particular, that has greatly impacted me as a person and as a future teacher is The man with the seven-second memory, the video is linked in below and I highly recommend that you watch it within your spare time;

The man with the seven-second memory:

This video was the first video that we were shown when discussing the difference between long-term and short memory, and how memories are stored in certain parts of the brain and can be highly affected by traumatic events and other detrimental factors.  The video shares a story of a man with a seven-second memory, a former well-known conductor who suffered from a rare disease known as anterograde and retrograde amnesia which resulted in substantial memory loss. The disease highly impacted his memory, so much so that he can only remember for seven seconds. In the video, his wife states that when he is saying a sentence he has already forgotten what he is about to say and why he is saying it in the first place.

During the video, I was extremely saddened by his condition which led to me reflecting on his position. How would I feel if I constantly forgot about my own life? Forgot why I was sitting on that chair, forgot who was standing in front of me? Forgot who I was and why I kept forgetting?

I think it must be a very painful life for him and those around him, to constantly be unaware of every little detail and have to relive every event like its the first time its happened.

The video highlighted that clive would remember his wife, and knew that he had children but even though they visited due to his memory he kept believing that it was the first time he had seen them like he suddenly “awakened and regained consciousness”. A key quote highlighted in the full documentary. Clive in the initial stages of his memory loss kept a diary and wrote down all the times remembered stating that he was finally “awake”, due to the increasing effects of his memory loss every minute would be recorded as him regaining consciousness and being able to remember again.

Other than the memory of his wife, Clive was also able to play the piano, something that was interesting to me due to the fact that he would constantly forget, around every seven seconds. We then learned that this was due to the memory of playing the piano being stored in his procedural memory meaning that his actions in playing the piano were automatic, he didn’t have to process the information or recall the event he just knew what to do.

We have three types of memory: episodic -memory of events that we have experienced
                                                            semantic – information of the world general knowledge
                                                            procedural- knowing how to do things (actions) 

Memory has a huge impact on our lives and I personally feel like we take it for granted, and somehow we think that we will always remember those specific important things; a marriage, a fall out, an embarrassing moment, however, Clive’s case along with many other memory loss conditions have proven that is not the case.

In reflecting on our future roles as teachers, I think we need to consider the vast amount of challenging things and content that children need to remember and the hardship and struggles that come along with that. We need to provide opportunities for recall and testing that is suitable for all children and helps them to develop and remember the content and knowledge for future reference. such methods that were highlighted in lecturers include:
recall, recollection, recognition method and the relearning method.

We need to understand that remembering facts or something that the children have learned can sometimesbe difficult and challenging and we must take into consideration outside factors such as emotional stress that could be influencing their memory.

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