Friday, February 17, 2006

Thinking Things Over

California researchers have discovered that -- brace yourself -- a single memory is processed in several sections of the brain.

This really should not be a surprise, considering the nature of memory.

Memories usually involve images, actions, perhaps sounds and smells, and an array of emotions. Remember, for example, your wedding day. Or, if you're single, ponder your last car crash. Anything significant.

You could probably write several pages. The question is, how is all of this information organized? Memories are cross referenced and linked to other memories.

So incoming sensory information that will become a memory probably has to be "deposited" in several places. And somehow the memory will be associated with events before and after.

Whatever is happening in the brain is beyond complex. The brain isn't a filing cabinet, or a hard drive, or a book.

It's probably more like a dynamic, shifting, replicating, duplicating, comparing, adding, subtracting, including, excluding, evaluating, ordering, disordering, holistic, interconnected, parallel, linear something or other.

The fact that we can even think about thinking is just too complicated to think about.

So, of course whatever a memory is, it enters the mind through more than one door.