New scene memory enters my mind-archive

The other day I was doing some tedious household chore that involves manual dexterity, just the type of activity that typically triggers my fine-motor chore->visual memory of scene synaesthesia, a phenomenon which I have described in some other posts in this blog. For reasons that are unknown to me, the scenes evoked by this type of synaesthesia are typically scenes that I haven’t visited for years, and places that I don’t expect to revisit. It appears that the part of the brain that is atypically stimulated and activated by this type of synaesthesia is like an archive for memories of scenes of places that have been somehow categorized as places that I don’t expect that I’ll revisit much. I suspect that the brain somehow alters the way visual memories are stored according to expectations about how long the memory will need to last without being renewed with more recent viewing. I have found many studies that found that human expectations about the matter memorized can alter the way that the brain stores memories (see other posts for details), so it does seem possible that my brain might have a location within it that acts like the compactus or the stack of an academic library, storing memories of scenes rather than books.

The other day I noticed that I was briefly “seeing” in my mind’s eye a place that I hadn’t seen before during this type of synaesthesia experience. I “saw” scenes of a playground/park that I used to take kids to visit every month for a number of years, when we made monthly trips to a far suburb of Perth to take one of our kids to a club that they were a member of, which met monthly on weekends. This lovely playground was not far from the clubrooms, so it was a good place to fill in time with a young-one. It has been a couple of years since our child dropped out of the club, and we no longer go to that once-loved playground. Just the other day I mentioned the place and one of the kids said with a wistful tone in their voice “We never go there these days!” It appears that the period of time that it takes for a visual memory of a scene to enter my brain’s scene-archive is about the same period of time that it takes for a place to become forgotten and then wistfully missed if reminded of it. A couple of years, roughly. If you haven’t done something for a couple of years, you probably wont ever do it again. Life moves on.

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