INTERACTIVE BLOG POST……INTERACTIVE BLOG POST……
Have you ever had one of those days when you’re so busy with umpteen directions to apply the brain, that the simplest tasks seem impossible to carry out? Straightforward decisions which, on a calmer day seem second nature, suddenly become elusive in the brain bank of capabilities…?
I had an e-mail from a good friend this morning, outlining this very problem. He said:
“This morning I was not really with it – going from the bathroom to the clothes drier to get something, I realise I’d left it in the bathroom. Then going upstairs to iron a shirt, I arrived at the ironing board clutching some underwear! Rather like on the computer, when you’re convinced you’ve clicked the right button, and it goes off and does something completely different”.
I know this feeling only too well and often wonder, if at nearly 40, I’m going senile or whether the trials and tribulations of modern life in a speedy civilisation actually cause a discerning brain to overload completely.
I was reminded of how (fairly recently) I had taken a call from the estate agent and trying to multi-task in a hurry, was happily discussing viewings whilst placing the newspaper in the fridge, my youngest child’s shoes in the oven and a packet of Walnut Whips on the side of the bath (presumably for a soak later on!).
Similarly, I remember the time when mum had been chatting to a neighbour about curtain measurements whilst making coffee and absent-mindedly threw the Kit-Kats into the kettle whilst filling the biscuit tin with cold water…! Having said that, this was also a lady who broke the window of our local bank with a frozen turkey whilst subconsciously swinging it mid-gesture.
The perpetual daily buzz of getting kids fed, dressed, up and out, organising work, paying bills, dealing with paperwork, bosses, meetings, builders, allowing for the unexpected, shopping for necessaries and planning ahead would (and does) seem fairly ordinary in our lives, when on paper. But how many of us have been in such a hurry and flummox we’ve argued the air blue with our partners- a bill HAD been paid or a letter HAD been sent when there’s evidence to the contrary. Our busy brains have told us those actions have been written off, but our hands hadn’t engaged at the same time and chaos ensues.
So why does this happen sometimes? The area of the brain which primarily deals with memory and storing information is beautifully named the “hippocampus”. This is essential for the consolidation of new information from short-term to long-term memory within the mind, although it does not seem to store the body of the information itself… more of a mediatory vehicle. Without the hippocampus, new memories are unable to be stored into long-term memory, and this can result in poor events recollection and a very short attention span. All sorts of emotional, physical and mental factors can cause an aberration in the function of this area.
With this ‘homogenized’ mix of responsibilities listed above, it would appear my own hippocampus has turned into a “hermit campus” of late.
I must now turn my attentions to hoovering the lawn whilst my Walnut Whip bath is over-running…
©Tess Egerton 2011
Hello! During the next few months I am carrying out a small empirical study on the effects of urban society on our memory within different age groups. I will be specifically concentrating on how this affects our speech patterns and our memory or perception of what we’d been asked when we’d forgotten to carry out a task.
With this in mind, I would love to hear from everyone about their own stories of absent-mindedness; whether funny, annoying or plain daft! Thanks.