Memory Does memory, especially in the form of nostalgia, limit knowledge?

Journals

Journal #1

  • Kait
  • Group Members: Rhea, Diego, Caton
  • Badge Leader: Kait
  • Feb 16
  • WOK Badge: Memory

What is the main point about your WOK that you want to make in your badge project?

The main point that I want to make is that memory is the basis of all knowledge, it is the most important WOK. Without memory, we have nothing. The memories we have make us who we are and without them we lose a little of ourselves. This is evident with people who have Alzheimer's disease, amnesia, or any other memory lose disease. I think it would be interesting to explore the idea of losing your memory and what it would do to an individual. It would also be interesting to to discuss what could happen with our memories in the future. Could we erase memory? Could we create new ones? Could we implant false memories?

EE: To what extent does memory loss affect our knowledge?

Journal #2

  • Feb 16

EE: Does memory, especially in the form of nostalgia, limit knowledge?

algia= pain

  1. Video
  2. explain nostalgia
  3. discuss personal nostalgic memories
  4. compare to people who went through the same event
  5. explain how they are limited

We've decided to change our essential question. Instead of exploring an outlier concept of memory, we are going to explore something hat is more relatable to the general population. We are going to discuss nostalgia and how it can limit our knowledge. We will each share a personal nostalgic memory and compare them to others that were with us during the memory, and then explain how those memories limit our knowledge of the past.

My Personal Memory with my Twin, Kris: Norway

  • Feb 16

How Kris and I's memory of Norway limits our knowledge

  • What are you most nostalgic about when thinking of Norway?
  • What is a specific positive memory you have?
  • Are there any negative moments that stand out to you?

I'm going to record a conversation between my sister Kris and I about our memories of Norway. I will try to ask her questions that summarize the positive and negative moments of Norway and find out whether she remembers Norway in a good or bad light. I will then compare her memories to mine. I predict that Kris will have more positive memories of Norway. This should limit our knowledge of Norway as a whole because we will mainly only be remembering the good times, rather than the experience as a whole. You could also look at it as Norway is a really great place, and there actually aren't many bad things to say about it. But at the same time, there is no way to measure how good or bad a place is because everyone's opinion is different.

Journal #3

  • Feb 21

Today we simplified our project a lot so that our message is the main focus. Today I learned that memory can be very limited by nostalgia. When thinking about past memories, we tend to focus on the things that stood out the most, whether that be positive or negative. We don't usually remember dull or neutral moments. My group has simplified our project a lot so that there is not much left to do. Rhea and I are going to record ourselves having a conversation with another person. These conversations will be about past experiences we've had, while comparing them to the person that we are talking to. When presenting to the class, we will discuss only the main points, and then how that memory is limited. We plan to have to first half of the presentation for summarizing our stories, and the second half for an explanation fro why the memories limit our knowledge.

Journal #4

  • Feb 22

Today I recorded the conversation with my sister Kris about Norway. Here are the main points from the convo:

  • She is most nostalgic about the snow
  • she misses walking our dog through the forest and the beach- felt happy and calm
  • a specific story she has is when she and some of her other friends ditched school to go get free ice-cream and then the saw girls that they didn't like who dint get the free ice-cream and it made her feel good.
  • She also remembers a time that she was eating ice-cream and she had gotten a little on her mouth, and then little Norwegian kids started to point and laugh at her
  • She hated the running unit in PE because she was always last
  • told me that she liked the school in Norway, but when we were there, she always said she hated it
  • use to sit in her closet and watch movies
  • one direction concert

Journal #5- Reflection

  • Feb 23

We did our presentation today and I feel like it went well. My group did a good job of explaining nostalgia an how it limits our knowledge. Rhea and I's stories helped support the idea that our memories are bias, which in turn limits our knowledge. We got our point across successfully and I think the class learned more about memory in the process.

If I could change anything about the presentation, I would have summarized my story a little faster so that we could have more time at the end to discuss how the nostalgic memories, or memories in general limit our knowledge.

Through the process of making this presentation, I learned a lot about how each person relatively only remembers the most significant or important memories to them. Their memories can also be bias, when they only remember very happy or very sad memories. This is limiting because when thinking about a past experience, we can't remember the entire experience with every angle and detail. For example, I remember Norway very differently than my twin sister Kris. Kris remembers little things here and there that she thought were funny or interesting. I remember broader ideas like the seasons and how beautiful Norway was. I'm nostalgic about my school there and how small it was. I use to have so much freedom there and I really took advantage of it. Kris on the other hand, didn't take advantage of all the freedom. That is why our memories are so different. When relating this to our knowledge, we both have relatively limited knowledge about Norway. I remember the good times I had there, and also all the freedom I had, and Kris remember funny experiences with her friends. If we put those memories together, we are still missing a significant part of out time that we spent there. We tend to forget most of the negative memories, and the very dull ones. To Kris and I, the joyful, funny, and exciting ones stick out the most, so that is how we remember Norway for the most part.

Documentation:

Elective Readings

Memory and Forgetting

Radiolab podcast

This podcast from Radiolab is about memory and explores the possibility of easing it. The podcast starts with the analogy that memory is like a filing cabinet. Memories are made, stored away in an appropriate place, and retrieved later on. This is proven to be a false analogy. Memory is nothing like a filing cabinet. Memory can not just be recalled exactly how someone experienced that memory in the first place.

Some scientist did an experiment with rats to test if memory could be forgotten or erased. They placed a rat into a box and played a tone for a few seconds. After the tone, the lightly shocked the rat. In that moment, the rat made a memory that after that specific tone, it would be shocked. So overtime after when the rat would here that tone, it would tense up and prepare for the shock. Then the scientist injected a specific drug into the rat that attacked proteins in the brain to ease that memory. When the rat heard the tone again, it did not react by tensing up. this proves that the rat had forgotten about being shocked, also that memories were physically stored in proteins.

Since one of the rat's few memories is the tone and the shock, the scientist needed to prove that the drug was only erasing that one specific memory, and not all the rat's memory. They did this by injecting the the drug after the shock, instead of before the shock like they had previously done. The rat ended up forgetting that one specific memory when being injected after the shock. This worked because when the rat was injected with the drug, he was actively remembering the tone and the shock, creating the memory again in it's head. This means that the drug only worked when the memory was being made. Each time the rat was thinking about the experiencing, he was making the memory over again, not just remembering it as it originally happened.

Each time we remember a moment, we are making the memory again. So the morrow think about a particular memory, the more times we create the memory all over again. This leads to changing the memory significantly. No matter what, we can never keep a memory exactly the same as when we first experienced it.

Extension proposal

This article describes the difference between good memories of the past, and nostalgia. Memories of the past are simply good memories that you remember and cherish. They do not affect your present state, they are only there to be looked back on. Nostalgic memories are different. They are memories of good times that are no longer obtainable, they cannot be achieved or recreated ever again. That is way we long so much for nostalgic memories, and not only happy memories from the past.

This article is good for understanding how positive memories are different than nostalgic ones. It also explains how the nostalgic memories affect our present state. We long for the past, therefore making the present look unappealing. That goes on the make us pessimistic for the future, which doesn't help us live a happy life. We must learn to not make nostalgic memories be so significant in our lives so that we can move on.

Knowledge questions

  1. How does nostalgia limit our knowledge?
  2. What is the difference between general memories of the past and nostalgic memories?
  3. Why do we only remember specific memories of the past?

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