Friday, July 07, 2006

Recovered memories

People are still arguing over whether traumatic memories can be forgotten, and later remembered, even though it has been shown that it can happen; I know it is so from first-hand experience. Other people deny that there are such a thing as false memories, even those these have also been shown to exist.

Why do so many people have trouble with the fact that in much of life, there are no absolutes? If the sky is cloudy, sometimes it rains, sometimes it doesn't. I wonder if part of it stems from our education, where we are rewarded for getting the one right answer? I'm sure some people are born with varying levels of such characteristics as curiosty and openess to learning new things, just as we are born with a tendency to be varying heights and body builds. This is good, as we need a variety of capabilities.

But of course, almost any extreme characteristic can be a problem. Both extreme dogmatism, and the acceptance of any flaky idea that comes around, are not good. I expect that education and educators have an effect, sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Indeed, I have tutored people in math who were clueless on how to solve problems involving very large numbers. When presented with the same problem with small numbers, they had no problem at all. They knew how to solve the problem, but were intimidated by large numbers. Almost everybody I know who hates math can trace it back to an elementary school teacher.

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