Ch. 3 Question

It mentions in the reading that “without memory we would not be able to function”(page 6).  So how do people with really bad memories or people with Alzheimer’s get by in life? What things could help people with bad memory?

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3 Responses to “Ch. 3 Question”

  1. nsinex Says:

    I believe that memory functioning can be improved with practice and proper nutrition (particularly “brain” foods such as omega 3 proteins). You’ve probably heard of “memory contests” in which participants have the task of remembering as many numbers in a particular order as they can. They have devised certain techniques to trick their brain in to increasing their memory capacity, such as equating a number to a mental image. So this type of memory enhancement is possible if one were dedicated to the task. There are other ways to improve memory, all involving repetitive practice. Nintendo DS has created a brain enhancing line of video games. In my experience any mentally challenging game, such as Sudoku, can improve your memory.

    Certainly it can be agreed upon that a bad memory is very inefficient for a person’s day to day experiences. However, certain technologies can be used to help with memory challenged person not repeat tasks. The article mentions the camera in the kitchen example. However the problem with bad memory runs deeper than causing a person to be repetitive in their daily tasks. A bad memory can also effect how a person plans their life… days, months, or even years in advance. Experience is how we learn to direct our future actions. It stands to reason that people with poor memories could repeat mistakes they have made simply because they forgot the outcome of the previous time they made a similar move.

    Obviously, Alzheimer’s disease is a separate matter. As with many brain diseases we don’t really know a lot about what causes Alzheimer’s. Genetics, lifetime exposure to certain substances, and lack of proper nutrients are all possible causes… and combinations of these can increase the risks. Until we know more about how the brain actually works we will not be able to do much about the Alzheimer’s issue.

  2. brandongrunwell Says:

    Persons with bad memory and Alzheimer’s struggle throughout life. Short term memory is first effected, so people struggle with some day to day tasks. They are able to get by in life because the memories of the actions they have completed over in over in your life, the ones that become second nature like driving, remain in the memory for sometime afterwards. IF the person prepared and ate one type of food over and over throughout their life, they likely will be able to remember how to make that food, and eat it, thus surviving longer. It isn’t that they don’t have any memory, or, like the book states, they would not be able to function. They just have fewer and fewer memories that remain, until unfortunately, they can no longer function without the help of others, or at all.

  3. chmbrigg Says:

    Good answers folks. I like the discussion here. There is an obvious tension when we start putting technology into people’s lives. On the one hand it’s great to support their development – to give them aids to make them more effective. On the other hand it may not be so good when we provide technologies that in the long run make people less able and dependent, in an unhealthy way, on the technology.

    In every technology system we design, it’s extremely important to consider where on this continuum each system should be.


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