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记忆的工作原理

How Your Memory Works

Thank you to brilliant.org for supporting PBS Digital Studios.
感谢brilliant.org对PBS数字工作室的支持
Sherlock Holmes, the legendary detective
传说中的侦探夏洛克•福尔摩斯
had a theory that the brain is like an attic
曾提出一个理论 认为大脑就像一间阁楼
where a person can only store a limited amount of memories.
人们只能在里面储存有限的记忆
Dr. Watson once told him that the Earth travels around the sun,
华生医生曾告诉他 地球绕着太阳转
duh, to which Holmes replied,
对此 福尔摩斯回答说
“Now that I do know it, I shall do my best to forget it.”
“既然我已经知道了 就会尽力忘记它”
Holmes figured,
福尔摩斯认为
clutter your attic with random facts and trivia,
如果你的阁楼里尽是凌乱的琐事
and you won’t have room for the things that matter,
就没有空间留给重要的事
like identifying the tiny differences between lethal poisons.
比如辨别不同致命毒药之间的细微差别
Was Holmes right?
福尔摩斯说的对吗?
Is our memory limited, like the storage capacity of a computer?
我们的记忆像电脑容量一样有限?
Or is our memory unlimited?
还是无限呢?
And if we did have perfect memory,
如果我们真的拥有完美的记忆力
what would life be like if you never forgot anything?
如果你从不忘记任何事 那么生活会是什么样?
[OPEN]
[开始]
The animated film Inside Out depicted memories
动画电影《头脑特工队》将记忆描绘为
as glowing spheres stacked in the brain,
堆积在大脑中的发光球体
like books in a library.
就像图书馆里的书一样
But the reality is a little more complicated.
但事实要更复杂一些
There is no one place in the brain
大脑中没有任何一个地方
that serves as our memory bank.
可以做我们的记忆库
Instead, individual memories are scattered all over the brain.
相反 记忆散落在大脑各处
Many brain cells, in several different regions,
位于不同区域的许多脑细胞
work together to make one memory.
共同形成一个记忆
For example, a memory of eating grandma’s apple pie might involve
例如 吃祖母做的苹果派的记忆可能包含很多脑细胞
some brain cells to help you remember what the pie looked like,
一些帮你记住派的样子
others to remember the smell of the cinnamon,
一些用来记住肉桂的气味
and even cells to remember the delicious taste
甚至还有一些用来记住美好的味道
just name a few.
这里只举几个例子
In reality, though, a memory isn’t a physical thing
然而 事实上 记忆并不是
that we can find in any given brain cell.
我们在任何脑细胞中都能找到的物质
It’s an action, not an object.
它是一种行为 而不是一个物体
Think of baseball fans doing “the wave”:
想想棒球迷们摆“人浪”
no single fan IS the wave,
一个人形不成浪
the magic only happens when all the fans are together,
只有当所有球迷一起按一定顺序摆动时
doing their thing in a specific order.
才会出现奇迹
In the same way, a memory only happens
同样 只有当多个相连的神经元
when many connected neurons fire in a specific pattern.
以特定方式放电时 才会产生记忆
Because the same cells can fire in many unique patterns,
由于相同细胞能以多种独特的模式放电
one group of neurons can encode multiple memories.
一组神经元可以编码多个记忆
This increases the memory storage capacity of the brain.
这增加了大脑储存记忆的容量
Buried deep in the middle of the brain
在大脑中部的深处
we find a group of cells shaped like a seahorse,
我们发现了一组形状像海马一样的细胞
which is why 18th century scientists named this bit the ‘hippocampus.’
因此 十八世纪的科学家们将其命名为“海马体”
Without your seahorse, you might never remember.
没有海马体 你可能永远不会有记忆
We owe a lot of our understanding of memories to one famous patient,
我们对记忆的很多认识源于一个著名的病人
known for years only by his initials, H.M..
多年来 我们只知道他名字的缩写是 H.M.
In 1953, H.M. underwent a surgery for epilepsy,
1953年 H.M.做了一次癫痫手术
which demolished most of his hippocampus.
手术损伤了他大部分的海马体
For the rest of his life,
此后余生
he exhibited a severe type of amnesia
他患上了严重的健忘症
where he was unable to form new memories of facts or events.
无法再形成对事实和事件的新记忆
But, he was still able to remember things
但他仍然记得
he had learned before the surgery.
手术之前的事
They showed us the hippocampus is a key to making memories,
这表明 海马体是制造记忆的关键
but it isn’t where memories are stored.
但不是储存记忆的地方
So how do experiences become memories?
那么 经历是如何变成记忆的呢?
If we look inside the brain of a mouse in a maze,
如果我们观察身处迷宫中的老鼠的大脑
we could draw a kind of map,
我们可以画出一张地图
showing which brain cells are active
显示老鼠在经历事情时
as the mouse experiences something.
哪些脑细胞是活跃的
Later, we would see the mouse’s brain cells
随后我们看到 老鼠的脑细胞
firing in the same patterns,
以同样的方式放电
replaying the experience in fast forward,
快速 一次次 来来回回地
over and over, backwards and forwards
回放这次经历
to make the connections between cells stronger.
以加强细胞间的联系
This is called consolidation and it’s how animals, including humans,
这被称为巩固 是动物 包括人类
commit new memories to long-term storage.
将新记忆长期储存起来的方式
Days or weeks later,
几天或几周后
a smell might trigger the same pattern of cells firing in the mouse’s brain,
一种气味可能会使老鼠大脑中相同的细胞放电
a recall of the maze memories,
回溯关于迷宫的记忆
just like smelling cinnamon might trigger memories of grandma for you.
就像闻到肉桂味会让你想到你祖母一样
But the brain’s way of creating memories isn’t foolproof.
但大脑创造记忆的方式并不是万全的
Sometimes, our mental replay of something we only imagined
有时 我们大脑回放只是想象出的事物时
can feel as vivid as a real experience.
会像真实经历一样生动
If you picture all the sights, smells, and sounds of a crime scene
如果你根据某人的描述去想象
from someone’s description,
犯罪现场的场景 气味和声音
you activate similar brain networks
你就会激活大脑中类似的细胞网络
as if you had really been there.
像你真的在犯罪现场一样
The more you replay the scene in your mind,
你越在脑海中重复这一场景
the more it feels like a real memory.
就越觉得那是真实的记忆
That’s why a detective who asks leading questions
这就是为什么一个提出引导性问题的侦探
can inadvertently plant a false memory in a witness.
会在不经意间给证人植入错误的记忆
We’re able to remember a lot, but we forget even more.
我们能记住很多东西 但忘记的更多
Some forgetting just happens,
有些就是忘记了
but our brains also forget on purpose.
但我们的大脑也会有意去忘记
We have at least three different ways of forgetting.
我们至少有三种不同的遗忘方式
The first is what happens when a memory fades over time,
第一种是记忆随着时间慢慢淡去
so-called “passive oblivescence”
即所谓的“被动遗忘”
(a term you will probably forget).
(一个你可能会忘记的概念)
This may happen because
这可能是因为
the connections between brain cells gradually weaken over time;
脑细胞间的连接会随时间流逝而减弱
or perhaps the memory is still there,
或者可能这个记忆仍然在
but you might lose the triggers–sights, sounds, smells–you need to retrieve it.
但你失去了能激发它的场景 声音 气味
Another idea says memories could theoretically last forever,
另一种观点认为 理论上讲记忆可以永存
when the same neurons get used in other memories,
但当相同的神经元被用于其他记忆中时
this “interference” disrupts the original memory.
这种“干扰”会破坏原始记忆
This slow fade type of forgetting happens to all of us, eventually.
最终 所有人都会出现慢慢遗忘的现象
A second type of forgetting- targeted forgetting –
第二种是有针对性的遗忘
happens at night while we sleep.
发生在我们晚上睡觉的时候
This is when we clear out random, useless tidbits of information we’ve learned during the day
这时我们清除白天学到的随机且无用的花边信息
and erase outdated memories.
并抹去过时的记忆
For example, if yesterday, you thought the Earth was, say,
比如 昨天你认为地球是
a flat disk supported by three elephants,
由三头大象支撑的扁平圆盘
and today you learned that the Earth is round,
今天你又学到地球是球形的
your brain needs to purge one of these contradictory ideas
你的大脑就需要清除这两个互相矛盾的理论之一
hopefully the one about the elephants.
希望清除的是大象的那个
In certain stages of sleep,
在睡眠的某些阶段
we trim and prune connections between cells
我们修剪细胞之间的连接
and erase unneeded memory circuits.
并清除不需要的记忆回路
The third type of forgetting is motivated forgetting,
第三种是主动遗忘
something we all wish we could do
我们总希望自己能够
for one thing or another.
主动遗忘这件或那件事
This is when a person intentionally suppresses unpleasant memories.
这时人们在有意抑制不愉快的记忆
Forgetting on purpose is a way to regulate our emotions
故意遗忘是我们调节情绪的一种方式
and to focus on what needs to be done in the present,
让我们专注于当下需要做的事
instead of getting lost in negative memories of the past.
而不是迷失在过去的负面记忆中
We may need motivated forgetting to maintain our self-image,
我们可能需要主动遗忘来维持自我形象
to maintain confidence, to stay optimistic about the future,
保持自信 乐对未来
or to be able to maintain relationships with people who have hurt us.
或维持与那些曾经伤害过我们的人的关系
We don’t know exactly how motivated forgetting happens,
我们不能确切知道主动遗忘是如何发生的
but part of our brain seems to step in
似乎是我们大脑中的一部分介入
and block the troubling memory from being retrieved.
阻断了追忆令人不安的记忆
So that even though it’s still somewhere in our brain,
所以 虽然它仍在我们大脑中的某处
eventually we can’t find it.
我们却找不到它
Our brains have so many ways to forget
我们的大脑有很多种方式去遗忘
because forgetting is one of the most important things we do.
因为遗忘是我们所做的最重要的事情之一
Forgetting allows us to move past traumatic life events.
遗忘让我们能够摆脱过去生活中的创伤
In fact, PTSD may be a problem
事实上 人们患上创伤后应激障碍
where someone simply remembers too much.
可能只是因为记住了太多东西
Forgetting also allows us to clear out junk.
遗忘也让我们能清除垃圾
Imagine every sight, sound, smell, and piece of information
想想大脑每天要处理的
your brain processes every day!
每个场景 声音 气味和信息
If our brains didn’t sweep out the garbage every night,
如果每天晚上不清理这些垃圾的话
we would soon overflow our neural networks with random useless trivia,
混乱无用的琐碎信息很快就会挤满我们的神经网络
just like Sherlock Holmes predicted.
就像夏洛克·福尔摩斯预测的那样
We also wouldn’t be able to replace things
我们也无法用更优质的信息
that are no longer true with better information,
剔掉已经失真的信息
update our mental models of the world.
更新我们对世界的认识
Deep in the scientific literature
在科学文摘中
we find stories of a handful of people who never forget anything.
我们发现有少部分人永远不会遗忘任何事
They are so rare that their unforgetfulness has a medical name: hyperthymesia.
这非常罕见 医学上称之为:超忆症
The most famous case is Jill Price,
最著名的案例是
an American woman now in her fifties.
现年50多岁的美国女性吉尔·普莱斯
Starting from age 14,
从十四岁开始
Jill’s memory of her life is nearly perfect.
吉尔对自己生活的记忆近乎完美
For any date in the past,
对于过去的每一天
she remembers what she wore and had for lunch that day,
她都记得自己穿了什么 中午吃了什么
key historical events that she paid attention to,
她关注的重要历史事件
and detailed incidents from her life.
以及生活中的细节
She describes memories playing in her mind in vivid detail
她能以生动的细节描述脑海中的记忆
like a video reel that has been enhanced with smells and emotions,
像一盘有气味和情感 升华了的录影带
whether the events occurred yesterday or decades ago.
无论事情发生在昨天还是几十年前
This might sound like a blessing, especially if you’re in school,
这听起来像是幸事 尤其是在上学期间
but Jill has described being haunted by upsetting memories and by regrets,
但吉尔称自己会被令人沮丧的回忆和遗憾困扰
because unlike the rest of us,
因为不像我们其他人
she can clearly remember every choice she made and how it turned out.
她能清楚地记得自己所做的每一个选择以及结果如何
There’s probably something you truly ‘want’ to forget,
也许有些东西是你真的想忘记的
like that extremely embarrassing moment in high school
比如总在最糟糕时浮现在脑海中的
that always seems to pop up at the worst times.
高中时期特别尴尬的瞬间
Can we erase those unwanted memories somehow?
我们能以某种方式抹去那些不想要的记忆吗?
In an episode of House, MD,
在《豪斯医生》的某一集中
Dr. House treated a patient suffering from painful memories
豪斯医生通过电休克疗法
by performing something called electroconvulsive therapy:
治疗了一个受困于痛苦回忆的病人:
controlled electric shocks to the brain.
用一定量的电流刺激大脑
People who undergo ECT do lose some memories –
接受电休克治疗的人确实会丢失一些记忆
only not necessarily the ones they hope.
只是不一定是他们所希望的记忆
When it comes to erasing memories in humans,
当谈到消除人类记忆时
our best tool still works like a hammer, not a scalpel.
我们最好的工具仍然像把锤子而非手术刀
It’s no accident that our ability to forget,
我们的遗忘能力像记忆能力一样
like our ability to remember,
是一种复杂且精调过的机制
is a complex and finely-tuned mechanism.
这并非偶然
If humans couldn’t remember and learn from important events,
如果不能记住重大事件并从中学习
our species probably wouldn’t have survived.
人类可能都活不下来
But it seems that being able to forget is just as critical,
但似乎遗忘的能力也同样重要
an elementary part of solving this great mystery we call life.
是解答我们称之为生命的重大谜题的基础
Stay curious!
请保持好奇心!
So you probably can’t teach yourself to have perfect memory,
你可能无法让自己拥有完美的记忆力
and never forget anything.
不忘记任何事
Not without a massive brain injury or something.
除非你有严重的脑损伤之类的
But is memorization really the best way to learn something?
但是记忆真的是学习的最好方法吗?
Memorizing can definitely help you get started with a new concept.
记忆绝对可以帮你开启一个新的概念
However, truly understanding it requires much more –
然而 真正理解它需要的更多
seeing how concepts are related to each other,
了解概念之间的关联
looking for different interpretations, dealing with new information.
寻找不同的解释 处理新的信息
These are the skills that will help you learn anything,
这些是可以帮助你学习一切的技能
and if you’d like to sharpen your brain and develop these tools,
如果你想让大脑敏锐 发展这些技能
then Brilliant could be the place to go for that.
那么 Brilliant网站可以帮到你
Check out this Brilliant course on logic and deduction. [screen recording]
看看Brilliant上这门逻辑推理课程 [屏幕录制]
It’s got fun and challenging riddles and mind-benders broken up into bite size pieces,
上面有一条条有趣又具有挑战性的迷题和脑筋急转弯
and they’ll guide you through the problems until you’re a Sherlock Holmes-level logical thinker…
引导你解决问题 直到你成为像福尔摩斯一样厉害的逻辑思考者
To support It’s Okay To Be Smart and learn more about Brilliant,
支持“聪明刷” 了解更多关于Brilliant的信息
go to brilliant dot org slash BESMART and sign up for free.
请登录Brilliant.org/BESMART网站免费注册
Also, the first 200 people that go to that link will get 20% off the annual Premium subscription.
前200名点击链接的用户可以享受年费八折的优惠
Oh, pop quiz.
来个小测试
What’s the term for when the memory fades over time?
记忆随时间衰退的术语是什么?
Told you’ll forget.
我就说你会忘记吧

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视频概述

了解有关记忆的工作原理可以帮助我们更好地学习。

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

Emma Gao

审核员

审核员LR

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqFtWwQCzFI

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