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Total Recall - 62923
You Got A Lot Of Nerve Showing Your Face Around Here, Hauser. - Tony
Most Holidays are about remembrance, ever think about that? Let’s jump in …
The Daily Rabbit Hole: Tales from the ER on July 4th
“A guy had bundled like 40 sparklers together and lit them all, and the heat basically melted the sparklers to/around his hand, and he had a charred black lump.”
First and foremost, we have to acknowledge that in writing this newsletter - I experienced a heavy dose of semantic satiation. The word music now looks and sounds weird as I type. Many associate this with reactive inhibition, which seeks to explain why we can be good at something for a short period of time and then slowly get worse. Basically, as our brains work for us they work against us - as anyone who read yesterday’s newsletter already knows.
No one has made this connection that I can tell from a few short hours of winding wikipedia articles, but effectively the same mechanisms in the mind that cause beginner’s luck can cause us to completely lose track of a word that no longer seems viable in our lexicon. Wild.
But wait, back to music …
The ‘Wait, What?’ Vortex: Infantile Amnesia
“It remains unclear how a brain that rapidly forgets, or is not yet able to form long-term memories, can exert such a long-lasting and important influence.”
The Sound of Memory …
Music has long been linked to memory, but it has taken us some time to understand why older dementia patients can suddenly spring to life when a song from their teenage years is played. Or why we can suddenly be transported to a specific time in a specific location with a simple melody. Gabrielle Giffords, the former US representative, actually used music to relearn to speak following a gunshot wound that damaged her brain. This allowed her to testify before congress two years after the incident.
The important takeaway to understand this, is that music isn’t just a recall tool - it was also the foundation of forming memory when it was stored. This seems like a highly logical conclusion, but it doesn’t make it less interesting. Music (still not sure if this is a word anymore) activates a myriad of areas in the brain that can easily be linked back to creating a memory. First up, and most obvious: music activates the memory portion of the brain, no explanation needed - but so many other things do this as well, so why is music uniquely good at this?
It de-stresses1, allowing for clearer thinking and a greater ability to be present and alert2. Even sad songs can improve your mood3 which gives your brain a break from the negativity4, and all of this is done in an interesting pattern5 - allowing your brain to recognize what is happening in a more robust way.
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