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Associative memory

June 5, 2006

Sunday, we went to a restaurant with my in-laws. They used to go there since a long time and they personally know the restaurant owner. Each time they eat there, it’s an opportunity to chat about the respective families ; so, when my wife is with her parents, the owner remembers what my wife is doing in life. But, since a few months, we went there three or four times alone (i.e. just my wife and me) and the owner never recognised my wife.

The funny thing (imho) is that my wife’s job is associated (in the owner’s mind) with her and her parents but not with her alone. When she’s alone, no particular association is made. But when she is with her parents, the owner associates the parents with the daughter and the daughter with her job. My wife’s job is stored somewhere in the owner’s brain. But the electrical/biochemical path to retrieve this information is not direct and only works with certain associations. The human brain is quite amazing …

From → My life, Neuroscience

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