Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

mcurrie's picture

Words and Memory

 Like everyone else I've been wondering about the other senses that we do not have and so cannot experience or senses that we have but are not aware of. I was thinking about how the senses that we are aware of can be manipulated. Like when you're a child or even when you're in the womb and you here your mother's voice and "know" that this is your mother since you can recognize the sound without being aware of it. Then as you grow you pick up new sounds, give them names, and those are what makes up of your experience. I read in a book that in order to have a memory of something you have to make a name for it or have a word that you can connect your feelings and other senses to, like what you saw and smelled and heard. By placing a name or word to an experience does that muddle with what you actually experienced. When you have a feeling that you can't describe and you keep trying to find words for it but can't. I guess you then just say it was a feeling and that is the word you connect many of your unknown experiences with. Although with so many different experiences being placed with one word your memory can definitely get very confusing or place two things together that are related but did not happen at the same time. I wonder if because when you're born and the first couple of years you haven't placed words with experiences yet or really understand words is why you don't have memories from those years and you have to rely on your parents for some details. We learn with words, seems to be a good summary. For example, a parent is cooking and their toddler is in the kitchen, in order to make sure they don't burn themselves the mother will say "hot" and show a gesture of pulling their hand away from the stove so the toddler understand the word hot and will make the same gesture and then understand that feeling. Then it's pain that makes it so the toddler doesn't continue to touch very hot stuff. It's interesting how much language and words are critical to our way to life in learning and communicating, etc. 

Reply

To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
5 + 4 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.