Recognizing Places and Faces

Doing laundry, I listened to an episode of KCRW’s Design and Architecture show, ‘Design as a Form of Therapy.’ In it, psychologist Connie Forrest claims:

[T]he place in the brain that registers the recognition of faces, which happens in hundredths of milliseconds and is a primal, hardwired reaction, that’s the same place where settings are registered. So we know that being able to respond to and recognize settings is as primary to species’ survival as face recognition. People long to go back to places where wonderful things happened to them [...] and they want to avoid places where terrible things happened to them.

I found this interesting given what I’ve read in Frances Yates’ The Art of Memory, about the most prominent memory technique being to imprint memories in imagined loci, places.1

1 I read an article in Scientific American Mind (a favorite) about memory techniques, ‘Your Own Hall of Memories,’ by Michael Spang, which offered little not already covered in Yates’ book, yet fails to list it as ‘Further Reading’ (only lists Luria’s The Mind of a Mnemonist which is on my to-read list). However, the loci method still seems to be the thing, millennia later.

The above was posted to my personal weblog on August 2, 2005. My name is Peter Lindberg and I am a thirtysomething software developer and dad living in Stockholm, Sweden. Here, you’ll find posts in English and Swedish about whatever happens to interest me for the moment.


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