17 May 2005

the present for the past

i love this, from an article in TIME magazine.

If memories are indeed stored in the brain as holograms, each part of the memory contains all the sensory and emotional data needed to recall the entire original experience. A single detail--the sound of a child's voice, for example, or the smell of a lover's clothing--can evoke the complete remembered scene. According to this model, deja vu occurs when a detail from a current experience so strongly resembles a detail from a previous experience that a full-blown memory of the past event is conjured up. "As a result of the mismatching," says Sno, "the brain mistakes the present for the past. You feel certain you've seen the picture before."

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