Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Memory Science Part 4: The Analysis - AKA Spring Break '91 Wooohooo!

This is the conclusion to our four part memory experiment series. If you haven’t already, you should read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. I don’t really remember why -  I just have a sticky note here that says I should mention that.  

In summary, we are testing a memory theory that Pat heard on the radio that stated the more you recall a memory the more you are apt to alter said memory. Each of us wrote up a synopsis of a spring break trip we took our freshman year in college to see if we have any conflicting recollections.

In this post we will discuss the results of our experiment to see what we have discovered and learned about how our memories function. And more importantly, who won.

Christian: First off, there is no way Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game” or Queensryche’s “Silent Lucidity” were on any mix tape of mine. Not then, not now, not ever. I’m appalled that you are even suggesting that they may have been on one my tapes. Your memory is obviously severely deranged.

Pat:  I think if you were to check with one of our two car-mates (or maybe both of them) they would have a very vivid memory of bringing those two songs along. And c’mon man, they may not hold up so well today, but those songs were good for their time. The video that accompanied that Chris Isaak song? WICKED sexy!

So that was an interesting experiment. Nothing too conflicting, it appears. More complimentary than anything I think. It’s funny...kind of makes me think you need at least two people to accurately remember something you’ve experienced. Which, of course, means trouble if you’re a loner. Looks like their lives are simply going to be re-created every time they try to remember something.

Still, complimentary as they were, I have this dreadful feeling we’ve forgotten something of vital importance. Like did we see Nicholas Cage somewhere in there somewhere? Or am I just confusing my Vegas memories with my Nicholas-Cage-IN-Vegas-Movies memories?

Christian:  No, I’m pretty sure we didn’t see Nicholas Cage during the trip. I would have remembered that. But I think the results of this experiment of ours shows that your memory theory is indeed shit-crap. Like you, I didn’t see any major conflicts between our recollections either. If anything, it just shows that each individual tends to remember different events more than others. Although to be fair, I just barely skimmed yours while playing Mario Kart.

(*few minutes go by*)

OK, I decided to go back and really read yours this time and I do believe I found a couple statements that were incorrect with regards to being factual. First, in your comparisons of our skiing abilities; I was a very good skier back then so I do believe I was like the blonde guys from Hot Dog. However you are correct that you were more like the guys from Better Off Dead. Second, when we first arrived at Reno we stayed at some random motel the first night, as I described in my synopsis, and not at Circus Circus. It’s like you weren’t even on this trip.

I do find it interesting that neither of us remember anything about the trip back. We must have stopped and stayed somewhere on the way back. I know for sure we didn’t make the whole trip from Vegas to Eugene in one day. But I’m guessing Frodo and Sam don’t remember the trip back from Mordor too much either. It was probably just a lot of the two of them talking about how boring it’s going to be getting back to their normal lives doing all that gardening. Or how they wished they had gotten more souvenirs from the Mount Doom gift shop.        

It’s funny how even with combining both of our memories of this epic trip, we still can’t recall everything. Not funny ha ha but funny oh dear god we’re old.   

Pat:  Yeah, I have absolutely NO memory of that other hotel. So I think that means I have remembered our trip too much, to the point where I am starting to un-remember it, or dis-remember it, or dismember it...

So science triumphs yet again!

And I recall that Lane Meyer was a pretty good skier (down the hill on one ski?), so THANK YOU for the compliment, sir! A tip of my hat right back at you!

Christian: I think you might be dis-remembering the memory theory we were testing. It was that each time you remember something you alter it. I’m not seeing any alterations in our stories, just parts missing. I have told that cop pulling me over story many many times and it is just as accurate now as it was when it happened.  

Perhaps we haven’t recalled this spring break trip enough for the theory to kick in. Maybe if I start telling that cop story even more, over and over, it will eventually morph into me fighting the cop, using nothing but my fists and the purple velvet cape I was wearing.

And as I turned the officer’s car over onto it’s roof and jumped on top of it, I pointed down to him with my sword and said “From the power within me, that’s the last time you ever embezzel tax payer’s money from those orphans that were helping build that kitten hospital that they raised all that money for that you also embezzled.”  

Then lightning struck and thunder echoed off the valley walls, as I shouted  “YOU SHALL BE BANISHED!”  

As I was carried off on that chariot, and the crowd cheered, I told myself, I want to remember this moment forever.


  1. I bet your memories would have been drastically different if you were different genders, so in the true spirit of science, one of you needs to get a sex change operation.

  2. @Tumbleweed - Excellent point! One of our fellow female travelers mentioned that she didn't even remember going to Vegas on this trip until she read our posts. So you're probably on to something. So in the name of science, I will make the sacrifice, and volunteer Pat to have the operation done.