Home > 360MC Research & Development > Memory artefact – Research

Memory artefact – Research

I have started off my research into memory and with relation to my piece by firstly looking at how memory works.

The science…

When i first initially typed in ‘how memory works’ it mostly came up with compter based memory such as ‘How RAM works’ and even memory cards so i opted to go onto youtube to try and find something more relevant.

I have quoted a very scientific explanation of how memory works.  Its In a very foreign language but sounds smart enough to pass for a scientific explanation.

“When we learn something new, neurons in the hipacampous (?) forge strong connections by sending electro chemical messages across the tiny gaps between them called synapses.  Essential to the strength of the connection is the movement of electrically charged particles of calcium dridting through the synapses.  When the particles stream into a neuron they trigger chemical changes that make the connection more reliable.  The calcium flows through a molecule to the gateway of the neuron, the NMDA (?) receptor”.

(Courtesy of Youtube Video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vrVXWjKdQo&playnext=1&list=PLDD929B3A8D959A9F&index=1)

The BBC Science & Nature website

This website has a very informative and easy to understand explanation of the technicalities behind human memory.


It has the different avenues of memory with questions such as:

Q.  Will ‘exercising’ my brain with sudoku puzzles preserve my memory?

Q.  Is it possible to implant false memories?

Q.  Why do some songs get stuck in my head?

Q.  Why do i have such clear memories of what i was doing on 9/11?

All these questions are posed within the main BBC site and answered on the BBC Radio 4 site which has a very informative and interesting section dedicated to memory.


 BBC Radio 4

(Picture courtesy of http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=10399)

…To a more understandably human explanation

Our memory is made up of two parts of our brain.  Short-term and long-term memory.

(Picture courtesy of http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/science-technology/sheldrake-morphogenic-field-memory-lashley-collective-unconscious-3486.html)

These two forms of memory differ greatly to each other with reagrd to short-term being in the form of something that we are told or have seen that can pose little signifigance to us and long-term being something that is much more towards personal and much more significant memories.

BBC Horizon Documentary


This BBC Horizon documentary entitled ‘How Does Your Memory Work?’ from 2008 looks in-depth at how memory is developed from birth and childhood right through to the latter stages of human life.

How does your memory work?

(Picture courtesy of BBC link above)

It also looks at some very interesting real-life stories such as a woman who has her most traumatic memories wiped away just by taking a pill and a man who has no memory at all.

It was very interesting to see just how in-depth you can go into memory and the amount of progression that there has been in both technology and also medicinal methods to stretch and even fix memory.

World Memory Championship

world memory championships 2009

(Picture courtesy of http://www.fuzz2buzz.com/en/node/1054)

This very extraordinary championship/olympic style event was founded in 1991 and has crowned a plethora of champions over the years with the competition this year being held in China from December 3rd.

The competition comprises of 10 events which each test the width and bredth of the competitors memory.  The events include:

1.  Abstract images

2.  Binary numbers

3.  One hour number

4.  Names and faces

5.  Speed numbers

6.  Historic & future dates

7.  One hour cards

8.  Random words

9.  Spoken number

10.  Speed cards

To see just how difficult each of these events are, there is a video explanation of how each test works.  No video links are available but the website link is:


The official website for the World Memory Championship:


Other avenues of research…

Some of the avenues of research that i have undertook for my memory artefact includes some interesting memory tests that i have found via youtube that range from the interesting to beyond extraordinary. 

This particular memory experiment that was undertaken in 2007 at a Japanese university, tested the memory of young chimpanzees which showed that their photographic memory is far superior to humans. 

BBC news article about the experiment:


Humans with extraordinary memory

Whilst browsing on Youtube i searched for ‘memory champions’ to try and find some interesting videos to inspire me as to what tests i could undertake for my artefact.

This first video is courtesy of the BBC and looks at memory and how it works (in a less complicated manner) using dominoes as an example as to how memory is stored and how it is retrieved.  The memory champion from 2002 gets put to the test when he has to try and remember the exact position of each card in 10 decks!

Professor Robert Winston then gets taught the technique for memorising

I am going to use this type of test for my piece but it would mainly be the participant getting everything wrong :/ but i would be purely be undertaking this test in a serious enough manner that this wouldn’t really be an issue.  It’s relating to the ‘power of memory’ so that should be enough to suffice for my idea.

Using a deck of cards would be the best route to take and the influence of the video’s above have put me into the creative position of creating this simple test using just a deck of cards and a willing participant. Now i need to go and find a full deck of cards!

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