Sensations and Memories - Essay Example

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The paper "Sensations and Memories" describes that there is a strong connection between mechanisms people use to explore the world and their memory. Every taste, smell or sound can serve as a trigger for memories people have. Childhood memories are very strong for every person…
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Sensations and Memories
Sensations help people stay tuned in in the reality; they can touch, taste, smell, see and hear in order to explore the world around them. They can remember different sensations and tie them to certain moment in their lives. As a result, if they hear the same noise or feel the same smell in some time, it will evoke memories from the past. This essay will explore how people use sensations and how these sensations are related to their memory.
Life stories are the best examples to understand hos memories are linked with sensations and perceptions. One of my friends shared a story about his childhood with me. When he was a child, his mother used to bake an apple pie every Saturday morning. The house was filled with delicious smell of apples, caramel and sweet cream; he woke up and rushed to the kitchen to eat the first hot slice. He heard the sound of the radio playing 90-s hits. He watched his mom washing the dishes after her morning pie affair. All was so warm and pleasant; one more happy childhood Saturday transformed into a bunch of memories that warmed him when he grew up.
He moved to college and had to learned to live from scratch. He had to wash up and cook every day and he often recollected how good it was to live with parents. Once he passed a small café on his way to grocery store and the smell of freshly-baked apple pie hit his nose. It was exactly the same smell that woke him up every Saturday morning. He seemed to lost reality and got back to happy days of his childhood where everything was so good and nice. The smell of apple pie served as a trigger for his memories or a small time machine that could bring him back home for a second.
The sense of smell is complicated; there are countless receptors in human nose that transfer information to human brain. Prefrontal cortex processes this information with amygdala defines smell intensity. This brain area is involved in emotional perception and it is the reason why people often associate different smells with emotions they experienced together with them. Different smells can easily trigger memories because of amygdala work (Grison, Heatherton & Gazzaniga, 2014). This explains why my friend has such a strong emotional perception of apple pie smell. Taste and smell are closely connected with each other, so it is not a surprise that my friend could describe the smell in terms of taste characteristics.
The memory about Saturday mornings is very significant for him so it is very lasting because people tend to memorize things and events that mean a lot for them. This memory is easy to retrieve because it has a set of triggers encoded it in where the smell plays the leading role but settings and taste can be the same important (Grison, Heatherton & Gazzaniga, 2014). This memory is long-term and it is very powerful because it is emotional. Alongside with sensations, it brings the feeling of comfort, safety and pleasure. Since the same ritual took place regularly every Saturday, it was effectively encoded in long-term memory storage.
If to apply associations network theory to this case, it becomes obvious that the smell of the pie becomes strongly associated with such fundamental phenomena as childhood, home and family (Grison, Heatherton & Gazzaniga, 2014). Mother's role is iconic to this place because this memory surrounds her with a certain veil of perfection and empowers to present a female role model for my friend.
Overall, there is a strong connection between mechanisms people use to explore the world and their memory. Every taste, smell or sound can serve as a trigger for memories people have. Childhood memories are very strong for every person because they are always significant no matter they are pleasant or not. This essay shows just a small example how sensations are related to memories; in fact, every day is full of the same stories which are individual for each person depending on his or her life story and background.
Grison, S., Heatherton T., Gazzaniga, M. (2014). Psychology in your life. W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Read More
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