The Myth of the Brain as a Video Camera

Before we discuss what current research tells us about memory and recall, it may be helpful to address a common misconception that emerged from the work ofCanadian neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield in the 1930s and 1940s. Penfield reported that during surgery, an electrical stimulation of the temporal lobe produced episodes of recall, almost like seeing movie clips. Many concluded that the brain ―videotaped‖ life, and to remember things, our memories simply needed to be prompted. But these episodes of recall occurred in less than 5 percent of Penfield‘s patients. In addition, these were seizure patients, not healthy, random individuals. Some psychologists have since dismissed the supposed recall he reported as ―prompted‖ (Fisher, 1990), and the results have not been replicated by other surgeons. Still, somehow, the erroneous but popular concept of a brain that records or videotapes life like a CD or DVD player has persisted. But the reality is very different. Current neuroscience describes memories as ―dynamic‖ and not fixed. Among the many factors found to be important are background context, date of encoding, emotions, hormones, neurogenesis, and specific signaling stimuli (Nadel & Land, 2000). Using what we now know, we can define memory as the creation of a persistent change in the brain by a transient stimulus.


Folksonomies: cognition memory

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 Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do about It
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Jensen, Eric (2009), Teaching with Poverty in Mind: What Being Poor Does to Kids' Brains and What Schools Can Do about It, ASCD, Retrieved on 2015-11-03
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: education poverty