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Memory in films - Assignment Example

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In short, Shelby is a “man with no short term memory.”1 This is called anterograde amnesia.
Shelby’s forgetfulness, and his inability…
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Memory in films
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Memory in Film In Memento, Leonard Shelby has suffered some brain injury that affects his memory and personality. a. What are the memory problems Leonard Shelby exhibits?
The main memory problem that Shelby has is that he cannot form any new memories after the head injury he had in the attack on his wife. In short, Shelby is a “man with no short term memory.”1 This is called anterograde amnesia.
b. What personality traits and behaviors do you suspect are due to the injury?
Shelby’s forgetfulness, and his inability to remember events in order, are probably due to having received this injury. Shelby is unable to recall information that is new as well as pertaining to his life. Consequentially, Shelby has a bunch of isolated semantic and episodic memories.
c. Given his pattern of memory and personality/behavior changes, what areas of the brain would you suspect were affected? Explain why.
Most likely, Shelby’s medial temporal lobe was affected, because this is where declarative memory is stored. Also, it is very possible that the amygdala had something to do with the isolated memories.
2. In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel Barish undergoes an experimental procedure to erase memories of his relationship with Clementine.
a. Which memory phenomenon would explain why someone would want to have memories erased?
A traumatic experience would explain why someone would want to have their memories erased.
b. What problems can emerge if you were to erase all memories of painful events?
One would never learn how to cope with difficult situations.
c. How is Joel’s experience erasing, and then trying not to lose, memories consistent or inconsistent with what you’ve learned about how memory works?
It has been proven that certain memories can be erased in laboratory rodents. However, actually targeting memories to be erased by a company is still fictional in nature. There is a type of amnesia called lacunar amnesia in which there are gaps in memory. This is still a factual possibility.
3. Both films deal directly with the centrality of memory for understanding and knowing ourselves.
a. What similarities do the films share in how they depict memory, memory loss, and self-knowledge and understanding?
Obviously, both films deal with memory loss, although Memento deals somewhat more with a different type of amnesia. Also, there are more island memories in Memento (a bunch of island memories strung together), while there is more episodic memory present in Eternal Sunshine. Memory loss is characterized as being traumatic in both movies. Self-knowledge and understanding are considered to be key elements that memory provides, and that is why memory loss is so traumatic.
b. How do both films illustrate memory as an “active” cognitive process?
Memento and Eternal Sunshine both have events that unfold like action stories.
c. Which film do you think better represents the centrality of memory for understanding and knowing ourselves? Why? Provide examples from the films that illustrate your position.
Eternal Sunshine deals more with the act of remembering “island memories” in an episodic fashion, because it seems like an easier movie to which one can relate. Shelby in Memento, moving around and remembering snippets is not so easy to follow or understand. Random memories and little vignettes in Eternal Sunshine are more realistic representations of how most peoples’ memories work, and is a better movie as such. Eternal Sunshine’s storyline is not as hard to follow as Memento’s, in point of fact.

Internet Movie Database (IMDB) Web Site. Memento (2000). [Online Article]. Retrieved 20 October 2009. Read More
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