will we evolve to forget?

will we evolve to forget

Snapchat are about to launch sunglasses that capture video of what you see.

Your brain already does that.

Many of us think visually. We see ourselves in our experiences. We recall memories this way; in our “mind’s eye”. We even create imagined futures by running video or slide shows of what might happen. Our imagination is cool.

If we start replacing the need to do this because technology does it for us, might we evolve to lose the ability?

Evolution of course takes time, but there is already evidence that more people are becoming nearsighted because of recent changes in patterns of behaviour. A new paper published in the journal Ophthalmology looks at worldwide trends in myopia (nearsightedness) by doing a meta-analysis of 145 studies involving 2.1 million total participants. It predicts that by the year 2050, 4.8 billion people will be nearsighted. That’s 49.8 percent of the world’s population. The theory is that this is because of increased close work in the office, use of handheld devices and because less time is spent outdoors.

So what next? No need to visually recall our experiences; just download what we saw from our sunglasses?

Now that’s a dark thought to dim the brightness of anyone’s day.

three pounds of misbehaving matter


Barack Obama launched BRAIN, a collaborative neuroscience project, in 2013 saying,

As humans we can identify galaxies light years away, we can study particles smaller than an atom, but we still haven’t unlocked the mystery of the three pounds of matter between our ears.

Today my three pounds has been misbehaving, sending me thoughts that don’t make sense yet.


the false memory in reflection

Listened to a really interesting talk by Dr Julia Shaw today on the illusion of memory.

The process in our brain by which we store memory and the one by which we imagine futures is largely the same. So we confuse the two. We all have what are termed false memories.

Proven in studies globally, eye witness recall is unreliable in that witnesses unwittingly lose detail or embellish the truth through imagination. This is not just the stress of witnessing crime – we all do it.

In essence every memory you hold might be untrue or inaccurate. Dr Shaw’s work demonstrates also how you can, simply, ‘con’ the brain into imagining a past memory. Watch here

I’m now sitting on a train looking at a reflection of the platform in a light cover. The reflection is upside down. Distorted. A bit like a false memory. But then, reflections are always distorted. Back to front or upside down. 

How apt. When we reflect on our experience, when we recall the memory, it has the potential to be distorted. Inaccurate. Missing key parts. Events that we imagined, added as truths. Events that actually happened, inflated or diminished in their significance, or removed totally.

Worth reflecting on?

mindless thinking?


The mind’s job is to validate what it already thinks

Byron Katie

Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking we are thinking. That we are using our higher cognitive capabilities to make choices, rationalise, decide. To use our intellect.

Our minds are perhaps the best pattern forming device we know. So once a pattern is there, we usually lose the ability to think around it. Instead our brain tells us what it believes it already knows. It post rationalises so as to prove its pattern is correct.

Something to think about?

the eyes to the right have it

NLP eye movement
Since my NLP training I have been fascinated by eye movements.

I have noticed some people in particular search with their eyes for memories, associations or for connections when you ask them questions. I worked with such a client recently and the tiny eye movements were predictable … left, left, left, right, right, right, up, down. Then, left, left, left, right, right, right, up, down. A repeating pattern, as if searching for something.

The other day I read an article on the BBC website about sleep and REM research. The study has followed the neurological activity of sleeping Epilepsy patients for four years.

The lead doctor, Dr Nir, describes how when the patients were awake and shown a picture, especially one associated with a memory, the researchers saw a particular pattern of brain activity. “The activity of these neurons doesn’t reflect image processing. It’s more about signalling to the brain about a refresh of the mental imagery and the associations or related concepts.” says the report.
“…about 0.3 seconds after the picture appears, these neurons burst – they become vigorously active…”

It seems the same brain activity occurs during REM as when you simply close your eyes and imagine a picture or think of related concepts. Almost as if the brain is using the eye movements to aid filing memories or searching for existing memories or concepts with which to associate the new ones.

I am fascinated by the possibility that we do this when fully awake too. When asked a question or asked to think we search using our eyes for stored associations, memories and understanding with which to answer. In some people these eye movements are more noticeable, as with some of my clients.

NLP refers to these as eye accessing cues.

Neuroscience presents the most exciting possibilities for new discovery about the way we work and, I for one, look forward to the next ten years and discovering more.

Meanwhile, be curious about eye movements. Those little flicks left and right have significance far beyond out current awareness.