Your friend has alcohol poisoning

Amanda Scopelliti

She was a tall, hazel-eyed brunette, a few years older, who had grown up in the same town as me. She lived on a street right by the high school and danced at my studio all the way through graduation. Then, she went off to college to continue her education and was found unresponsive in her dorm room after a night of partying. The paramedics pronounced her DOA: Dead on Arrival. The autopsy revealed that she had died from alcohol poisoning.

It’s no secret that college students all across America drink alcohol, but it’s important to be mindful that this substance is incredibly dangerous when consumed in excess and especially when combined with other psychoactive substances. It is estimated that about 1,825 U.S. college students die from alcohol-related injuries each year, and alcohol consumption is associated with lower college grades in addition to higher rates of on-campus sexual assaults, suicide attempts, and arrests. Furthermore, it has been found that students who binge drink are more likely to participate in unsafe sex habits, and a large number of American college students report being assaulted by a peer who was under the influence of alcohol (approximately 696,000 reports annually).

It’s important to be mindful that women are more vulnerable to alcohol poisoning than men, and symptoms include a loss of coordination, disorientation, hypothermia that causes clammy hands and bluish skin, repeated vomiting, passing out, slow or irregular breathing, seizures, being conscious but unresponsive, and coma. It is advised that you seek medical attention if you observe these symptoms in another individual, especially because alcohol poisoning can be fatal.

Additionally, there are several things than you can do to help a friend who has alcohol poisoning. You should stay with them and keep them conscious, warm (sine hypothermia can result from alcohol poisoning), hydrated with water. You should monitor their symptoms, and if they fall asleep, it’s important that you ensure that they’re on their side so that they don’t choke on their own vomit. I’ve heard people suggest that you put a backpack on their back so that they are unable to roll over in their sleep. Unfortunately, choking on vomit is just one of the complications that can result from alcohol poisoning, and other complications include being severe dehydration that results in permanent brain damage and developing an irregular heartbeat, which can eventually stop.

Furthermore, long-term excessive alcohol consumption has been shown to have devastating effects on the brain, causing serious neurological problems and permanent brain. Individuals with an alcohol use disorder often have a poor diet that results in malnourishment. This can cause a vitamin B1 deficiency because alcohol prevents the body from absorbing the vitamin. A lack of B1 may result in brain damage after heavy drinking over an extended period of time. One condition that can result is called Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which consists of two different forms of dementia and causes symptoms such as paralysis of the eye muscles, loss of coordination, and difficulty learning. An additional complication that is sometimes caused by heavy drinking is called hepatic encephalopathy, and symptoms consist of a shortened attention span, depression, anxiety, and impaired coordination. The disorder results from alcohol causing inflammation to the liver, which is the organ responsible for filtering out toxins. An impaired liver can cause a buildup of toxins in the brain and lead to the unpleasant symptoms of hepatic encephalopathy.

Link Between Sleep and Fear

Madison Gilbertson

Could there possibly be a link between the amount of sleep we receive at night and our reaction to fear? An article by Michael Y. Park in Live Science entitled “Scared? Your Sleep Quality Could Be to Blame” looks at this very question. The article focuses most specifically on Rapid Eye Movement sleep, commonly known as REM. There are several stages of sleep. Stages one, two and three are included in what is call non-REM sleep and the last stage is REM sleep. Park discusses evidence in the article that suggests that individuals who get more REM sleep have less activity in areas of the brain that have been linked to fear. These findings might suggest that REM sleep may be capable of altering areas of the brain that communicate with one another in regard to fear. In other words, fear reactivity would be kept lower in people who have a higher proportion of REM sleep. This could have important clinical implications, especially regarding Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Park’s article on REM sleep and fear networks may represent an important component in better understanding the relationship between REM and PTSD. In the future, it might be possible to examine how much REM sleep a person gets and from that be able to gauge how resilient that individual will be in the face of trauma. It might also be possible to know how likely it is that individuals will develop PTSD after that trauma. This research might help us in the future to decide who is fit for high stress jobs based on sleep patterns. The article also poses several interesting questions. One interesting question is whether there is such thing as a REM “sweet spot” and if too little or too much REM sleep might both actually raise a person’s risk of PTSD. Too much REM might very well be a plausible issue given that there is a link between PTSD and intense nightmares that occur during REM sleep. Another question that comes to mind is causality. Although it seems simple to just be able to state that low amounts of REM sleep could cause PTSD, it’s also just as likely that having PTSD symptoms, such as reoccurring nightmares, could result in less sleep to begin with. We then find ourselves with the classic question of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Either way, this research is a prime example of how important it is to maintain a healthy sleep schedule.

Park, M. Y. (2017, October 23). Scared? Your Sleep Quality Could Be to Blame. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/60742-sleep-quality-fear-ptsd.html

Are Psychedelics a Possible Medical Treatment for Depression?

Kevin Lyskawa

In an article published by Tim Martin in The New Statesman titled, “The New Science of Psychedelics,” Martin embarks on current and past research that could hold promise for the medical use of psychedelics as a treatment for depression or anxiety. Within this article, Martin references work from many famous psychedelic researchers such as Robin Carhart-Harris, Bill Richards and more. With strong scientific evidence supporting Martin’s claims, he has revolutionized this schedule one drug to more than its common misconceptions, but rather a potential medical treatment for depression.

I want to first establish the background of psychedelics in society and in the scientific world prior to illustrating the scientific evidence that has emerged in recent years. Psychedelics were first discovered by Swiss scientist, Albert Hoffman, who at the time was studying the effects of lysergic acid diethlamide-25, commonly known as LSD, to cure raspatory issues and headaches. The story goes that while Hoffman’s results provided little to no evidence supporting his cause, he came into contact with the drug via fingertips during synthetization. Soon after, Hoffman stated in his journal that he began to experience the world in a different dimension, one filled with vibrant colors that seemed to differ than the normal visual spectrum. He left his laboratory to his home traveling on bike which gave rise to April 23, 1943 officially becoming known as “Bicycle Day,” becoming one of the first individuals recorded to experience a psychedelic trip.

Since Hoffman’s discovery, many researchers became fascinated with this new class of drugs. Research continued making immense headway into the possible benefits for treatment before president Nixon abolished psychedelic research by withholding government funding towards research during Nixon’s “War on Drugs” in the 60’s. The age of the drug loving “hippies” soon came to an end and research was halted for many years until a well-known scientist, Bill Richards, resumed his previous work in the late 90’s.

In a famous experiment performed by Richards, he wanted to see if psychedelics could have an effect on an individual’s outlook on life while suffering a terminally ill disease. Therefore, Richards conducted an experiment with 51 cancer patients who were suffering from chronic depression or anxiety and were given varying dosages of psilocybin, the psychoactive component in psychedelics. The patient’s feelings and attitudes on life after ingesting the drug were recorded and it was found that 80 percent of patients experienced a more positive outlook on life. It should also be known that these effects remained for over six months after experiencing the effects from the drug. That being said, Richard’s study indicates that psychedelics could serve as a one-time treatment for individuals with depression or anxiety.

Richard’s acknowledged that the shift in drug culture after the 60’s might make many reluctant to believe the benefits of such as drug. It should be known, however, that Richard’s will continue his research to hopefully one day convince the public that this is in fact a legitimate treatment, or should at the very least, be considered an alternative approach to treating depression. In my opinion, although the drug culture has taken its toll on many individuals and families who have suffered addiction problems in the past, psychedelics should be sought upon under regulation by practitioners a viable form of treatment. It will be interesting to follow the trajectory of psychedelic research because if sufficient evidence can prove the benefits, society must look past its previous history and come to terms with what could be a significant medical breakthrough.

Literary Cited

Martin, T. (2018, September 7). The new science of psychedelics. New Statesman; London, 147(5435), 32–35.
Richards, W. A. (2017). Psychedelic Psychotherapy: Insights From 25 Years of Research. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 57(4), 323–337. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167816670996

The “Nightcap” Misconception

Georgia Beckmann

Alcohol is generally known to be a depressant (or numbing) substance, and “nightcaps” have been used for generations to help ease people to sleep. However, many research studies contradict this common belief and have found that in actuality, alcohol consumption disrupts sleep cycles and patterns, especially among habitual/binge drinkers and alcoholics.

 

A Patrick, Griffin, Huntley, and Maggs (2016) study found that college students reported worsened sleep quality and quantity following a night of binge drinking (defined as four or more drinks consumed by women and five or more drinks consumed by men in a single night). While this disrupted sleep could have been impacted by factors other than the consumption of alcohol, like the fact that these students may have stayed out late socializing, there are other studies to support the assertion that alcohol directly alters sleep patterns and is not simply a correlational observation.

 

A study by Roehrs and Roth (2001) uncovered a possible explanation for the “nightcap” misconception. According to their study, alcohol consumption in non-alcoholics improved sleep to an extent. Non-alcoholics that consumed lower levels of alcohol (meaning less than four or five drinks per night) experienced longer and higher quality sleep, but when they consumed larger amounts of alcohol (i.e. binge drinking), their sleep was worsened during the second half of the night. Roehrs and Roth (2001) also observed the impact of alcohol on the sleep of alcoholics, which process alcohol differently than non-alcoholics. As alcohol consumption becomes more habitual and consumers develop physical dependencies on the substance, the disruption of sleep becomes more chronic and persistent, and sleep disorders like apnea can develop. Apnea prevents sufferers from attaining restful sleep, or even much sleep at all, due to their inability to take in oxygen when unconscious. Similar to the trend in heavy drinkers and alcoholics, Ogeil et al. (2019) found that persistent heavy use of alcohol over time was correlated with poorer sleep quality among adolescents.

 

Based on these studies, and experiments performed by Chan, Trinder, Colrain, and Nicholas (2015), alcohol was determined to have an arousal effect on sleep waves and patterns, which competes with and inhibits delta activity which occurs during deep non-REM sleep (Carlson, 2013). The Chan et al. (2015) study found that alcohol increased frontal alpha activity, which competed with the delta activity to impede restful sleep. Though it is not clear exactly why alcohol reacts to disrupt sleep waves in this way, the arousing results are evidence that alcohol consumption, particularly in larger quantities, hinder sleep.

 

Additionally, the Chan et al. (2015) study provide a possible explanation for the sleep trends in adolescent drinkers and alcoholics because it demonstrated that alcohol actively prevents non-REM deep sleep, which results in less restful sleep. It is important that heavy nighttime drinking, which occur frequently on college campuses, is discouraged on the basis that habitual heavy drinking before bed can severely impede getting a restful night’s sleep due to the prevention of delta activity. Many studies have shown the negative impacts of sleep deprivation over time in general, and given the disruption alcohol consumption has on deep, restful non- REM sleep  it is important to avoid large amounts of alcohol before bed as an essential aspect of healthy sleep hygiene.

 

References

Carlson, N. (2013). Foundations of behavioral neuroscience, ninth edition. New York: Allyn and Bacon.

Chan, J. K., Trinder, J. , Colrain, I. M. and Nicholas, C. L. (2015), The acute effects of alcohol on sleep electroencephalogram power spectra in late Adolescence. Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research, 39, 291-299. doi:10.1111/acer.12621

Ogeil, R. P., Cheetham, A., Mooney, A., Allen, N. B., Schwartz, O., Byrne, M. L., . . . Lubman, D. I. (2019). Early adolescent drinking and cannabis use predicts later sleep-quality problems. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 33(3), 266-273. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/adb0000453

Patrick, M. E., Griffin, J., Huntley, E. D., & Maggs, J. L. (2018) Energy drinks and binge drinking predict college students’ sleep quantity, quality, and tiredness, behavioral sleep medicine, Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 16(1), 92-105, DOI: 10.1080/15402002.2016.1173554

Roehrs, T. & Roth, T. (2001). Sleep, sleepiness, sleep disorders and alcohol use and abuse. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 5(4), 287-297. https://doi.org/10.1053/smrv.2001.0162

 

 

WHILE IT MAY NOT LAND YOU IN JAIL- THE EFFECT OF MARIJUANA ON SHORT TERM MEMORY MAY BE A LIFE SENTENCE

Daniel Renaud

The State of Connecticut has recently decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana and treats it like a minor traffic violation where those under than 21 would face a 60-day driver’s license suspension, similar to the penalty for underage possession of alcohol. However, it should be remembered that marijuana remains illegal under federal law (and is against Trinity College policies.) In addition to the possible criminal penalties for marijuana use, it is important to consider the long term health consequences of marijuana on short term memory.
The use of marijuana has dramatically increased in recent years. Currently 10 out of the 50 states in the United States have legalized marijuana and the legalization of marijuana at the federal level is being considered as well. It is therefore essential to thoroughly analyze the physical and mental effects marijuana has on the human body in order to educate the public about potential health consequences of sustained marijuana use and before action is taken to further legalize the drug. Marijuana is currently a Schedule One drug that is primarily smoked or ingested and activated cannabinoid receptors in the human body to induce pleasure. Scientists believe the THC in marijuana travels through these cannabinoid receptors located in the brain’s frontal cortex and hippocampus which in turn can potentially cause damage to both of these areas which are primarily concerned with the brain’s ability to recollect short term memories Thus the impact of marijuana use on short term memory is an issue that deserves attention.
In a recent study conducted by Professor Reto Auer published in the New York Times, he concluded that marijuana use on a daily basis over five years had a negative effect on short-term memory. While the effect he found was not that significant over that time period, if the negative effect on short term memory and pot smoking continued at the same rates, the impact upon short term memory could be severe. So although in Connecticut you may not land in jail, you should keep in mind that the impact of marijuana may remain with you forever.

Selflessness

 

Rachel Scheub

Selflessness: A Mental Disorder?

 

Earlier this year, on October 10th, NPR aired a podcast titled “What Drives Some People to Take Personal Risks to Help Strangers.” Before we get into the science covered in this podcast, consider this: is there such thing as a truly selfless act?  This question is trickier than it appears.  Imagine you were in line at Dunkin Donut’s this morning and you decide to pay for the person behind you in line as well.  On the surface, this appears to be a kind, totally selfless act.  How would some you benefit from paying for some random stranger’s coffee?

Even if there are not monetary or physical benefits from this kind act, research has shown that reward centers in your brain are activated when you do an altruistic act.  Those “warm fuzzies” you feel when you do something good are actually a physiological response to your kind act.  So, if your body is responding positivity to your action, you are still getting something out of your action.  So, was your choice to buy the coffee truly selfless? Or was it still intrinsically selfish because your reward centers were activated?

While this may have already blown your mind, think about a psychopath, which is a mental disorder characterized mainly by a tendency to act only in self-interest and demonstrate apathy towards others.  We would consider someone without any desire to help anyone selfish (and consider this negatively).  Why do we look down upon self-interest so much? Evolutionarily, would it not make sense for us to be motivated to survive (and therefore prioritize our own needs)?

Now, synthesize these two pieces of information. Contemplate the fact that no action is completely selfless and that theoretically, we should be motivated to survive. So, based on this, would it not be abnormal to encounter a person over-motivated to help others? Are humans programmed to not act selflessly if it is costly to our own personal health? Why would someone act detrimentally to their own health to save someone else’s life (say, by donating a kidney)?

Back to paragraph one: “What Drives Some People to Take Personal Risks to Help Strangers?” Brain scans of those who conducted life-saving acts of altruism revealed an abnormally large amygdala in people who have acted in this overly selfless manner.  Scientists interpreted this in correlation to the altruistic acts to mean that those with large amygdalae are more heightened to the fear and distress of others.  This explains why someone might decide to save the life of a stranger even if it may hurt their well-being in the long term.

At the end of the day, selflessness is more complicated, and presents both neurological and philosophical questions for us.  Most of us fall somewhere on the continuum between the guardian angel with a large amygdala and psychopaths. So, next time someone buys you a coffee in the drive-through, think about what might have been going through their head.

 

Works Cited:

https://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2017/10/10/555070329/what-drives-some-people-to-take-personal-risks-to-help-strangers

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22794262

 

 

 

Food and Brain

Anna Hackett

Food Blog

We all know the feeling, absolutely craving that gooey chocolate cake, that cheesy pizza, or that crisp salad even. You also probably know the feeling of seeing an advertisement for a restaurant with sizzling steak, steaming fries, and creamy ice cream. It turns out, marketing agents have a better idea as to what they’re doing than we may assume. You may already be somewhat familiar with the process of rewards and punishments in the brain. A pathway known as the mesolimbic dopamine pathway is the principle area of the brain associated with this phenomenon. Our brains are trained to learn what stimuli in the environment or actions we do lead to rewards, or good feelings. Food is no exception to this mechanism and we can thank dopamine for how we feel. We know that eating brings us happiness; we as well as our brains consider it a reward when we eat, thus dopamine is released. So, seeing food advertisements where the food is displayed as if it were right in front of you causes our brains to signal to us that we want what we are seeing and we want to complete this new goal to release dopamine. We associate seeing the food with eating and thus being happy. Advertising agencies are no fool to this process and thus know, the more they show you and the more frequently you’re exposed to their commercials, the more you’ll want their food. This same spark of craving can come from scrolling through social media. So many people, if you’re like me, follow food Instagram accounts or blogs that are dedicated to showing the delicious, mouth watering, food finds the poster has managed to get their hands on somewhere in the world. It may seem harmless scrolling though these accounts, but you’re actually causing your body to get feelings of hunger without realizing it. You may have noticed that after a few scrolls through one of these pages you start feeling like you’re ready for a snack. Whether or not you indulge in these feelings is an entirely other thing, but only those with willpowers stronger than mine will be able to resist these new cravings. So, next time you’re scrolling though one of these accounts, because realistically this post won’t make you stop, nor should it, try and see if you’re starting to get those munchies feelings you brain is trying to induce.

References:

Dooley, Roger. “Food Ads: How Brains Respond.” Neuromarketing, 29 Sept. 2014, www.neurosciencemarketing.com/blog/articles/food-craving.htm#.

Banks, Amy. “The Dopamine Reward System: Friend or Foe?” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 12 July 2015, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-love/201507/the-dopamine-reward-system-friend-or-foe.

Bergland, Christopher. “The Neurochemicals of Happiness.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 29 Nov. 2012, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201211/the-neurochemicals-happiness.

Romm, Cari. “What ‘Food Porn’ Does to the Brain.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 20 Apr. 2015, www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/04/what-food-porn-does-to-the-brain/390849/.

What Makes You You?

Anna Hackett What Makes You You? The Nature Nurture Debate

The mind is a mysterious entity that so many have tried to decipher. Why are some people so outgoing while other people are so shy? Why are some siblings’ mannerisms the same, while others’ couldn’t be more different? There has been a lot of exploration as to what makes us the way we are and the main question is are we destined to have a certain personality or do our experiences mold us to be the people we are? In truth, there is still a lot of debate on the subject as proof has been found to sway scientists one way or the other, but there is one trend that seems to be widely agreed upon: our childhood is integral to our personality. Let’s start with an interesting relationship between childhood and genetics. You may have heard of the “serial killer gene” study. In this study, a man named Jim Fallon discovered through scanning unknown groups of families’ brains that his family seemed to all have brains matching that of a psychopath. A psychopath is someone who has a disconnection with feeling emotions or having a conscious. They often have an inactive orbital cortex, which works closely with the amygdala, a section of the brain involved in fear, aggression, and emotion. Fallon found that there are actually two genes that can be passed down that make someone more likely to show aggression and violence that are common in serial killers. One is a version of the MAO-A gene that produces less monoamine oxidase-A enzyme, which results in irregular metabolizing of dopamine. The other gene is CDH13, which is involved in connecting neurons. The main point, though, is that even though his whole family had these genes, most of them weren’t serial killers (though some of his ancestors were discovered to have murderous pasts). This proves that genes don’t necessarily mean someone’s personality will be one way or the other, but they can play a role. What was found to be the main trigger for whether these genes were a factor or not was whether or not the person had a traumatic childhood. In the event of a happy, nurtured childhood, these genes would never pose a problem, with a less fortunate one though, things become bleaker. Now, there are still some who believe this is nonsense and genes play no role. Other scientists believe that our first six years of life can determine how we act later in life. The notion that we have one personality is being stepped away from and being replaced with the idea that people have multiple personalities depending on the situation they are in and these roles we take are dependent on how responsive parents are, what your position in the family is, and the narrative your parents had for you based on their own childhoods. Again, the quality of your childhood is not an end all be all, simply a starting point that can potentially be changed later in life. An interesting point that has been discussed, though, is what our society would be like if people stopped assuming their children are genetically wired to be a certain way and started owning up to the idea that they have an immense role in the character of their child. So, where do you stand on this debate? Do you agree with the notion that our genes are more likely to drive us towards a certain personality? Do you think a person’s experience will have a greater affect on how they act? It’s a complicated phenomenon, one we may not fully understand for a very long time, but it’s pretty amazing to have at least come this far in uncoding it. References: Ashley, Sarah. “Do You Have the Serial Killer Gene?” Modern Notion, 2 Oct. 2015, modernnotion.com/do-you-have-the-serial-killer-gene/. Smallman, Etan. “What Gives Us Our Personality? Nature Takes on Nurture.” Metro, 30 May 2015, metro.co.uk/2014/03/03/what-gives-us-our-personality-nature-takes-on-nurture-4342057/.

Starving for perfection?

Starving for perfection? Is it worth it? Sababa Anber

Did you know that around 10 million females and about 1 million males suffer from a type of anorexia or bulimia in the United States? In fact, millions of people more are struggling with compulsive eating disorder, which is about a 70 million people worldwide. Interestingly, the number of reported cases of young women suffering from anorexia, between the age of 15 and 19 has escalated every decade since 1930. Eating disorders consists of different types, such as anorexia nervosa, which is the fear of gaining weight, bulimia nervosa is the act of binge eating then purging or vomiting, and eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS), and binge eating disorder falls under that, which is eating until uncomfortably full in one sitting. Compulsive (or binge) eating disorder is quite alike as bulimia in various ways. Such as, in both disorders, a person feels guilty and are regretful about overeating. However, purge eating is not seen in people who suffer from compulsive eating disorder. They therefore, tend to be overweight or obese which could lead to several cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. About 1800 to 2600 calories a day is the normal, healthy, amount of food for an average teenager or an adult. However, during a bingeing episode, a person can eat about 25 times that amount, which could be equivalent to eating an entire chocolate cake or even an extra-large pepperoni pizza. Actually, people who binge eat, tend to consume these several times during the day! Research studies show that in the development of eating disorders, a significant role is played by genetic factors. For instance, the relatives of women who suffer from anorexia tends to be 11 times more likely to develop anorexia, while relatives of women with bulimia are four times more likely to develop that. The most devastating effects seen in people with Eating Disorders include depression, isolation, lack of self-respect, substance abuse, feelings of incompetence, rage, and anxiety. Especially, people who are either admired or mocked for their weight are at a greater risk of developing these symptoms. It is imperative to help people who are suffering from eating disorders. If your loved one is suffering from eating disorders, it is essential to communicate your concerns in a caring and supportive way. Most importantly, confronting the person you care about is a crucial step in order to get them both the help as well as the treatment that they deserve. Start with a casual conversation if you must, but it’s better to open up and talk about it, than suffer in silence. References: 1. Eating Disorders Statistics.” National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Association Disorders. 2012. Accessed: April 20, 2012. 2. Sonenklar, Carol. 2011. Anorexia and Bulimia (USA Today Health Reports: Diseases and Disorders).  Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books

Selective Memory

Selective Memory – brain blog article by Bella Blumenschein

 

It is crazy to think about how our brains physically change when we form memories. When studying this process, we learn about how the neuroanatomical processes help us create these memories and store them in different brain regions. Even more fascinating is the fact that some of our memories are not even accurate, and we sometimes genuinely believe in stuff that never even happened, or happened in a completely different way. Facts, events, or specific stimuli are called declarative memories, and those declarative memories of personal events specific to a time and place in our past are labeled episodic memories. When we talk about selective memory, we refer to these events in our past, but not everything we experience is actually stored in our brains. Instead there are several factors that lead us to remember some, and forget about others.  My goal here, however, is not to list the different potential triggers of selective memory, but instead focus on the one that intrigues me the most.

 

It is known that the parts of the brain such as the amygdala and cerebellum that are responsible for emotional arousal are also involved in the consolidation of memories. However, I wonder until what point is this process a physiological and chemical one. It is sometimes hard for me to believe everything that happens inside our heads is just a product of nature, especially when it comes to the way our emotions manifest themselves and influence how other processes work. It is easier to comprehend that in general, events that are emotionally charged, such as the car accident I was in over ten years ago, are vividly remembered, while I wouldn’t be able to tell you whatever boring thing I was doing at this time last month. This seems evolutionarily beneficial.

 

What does not seem to make sense to me is how when we develop feelings towards something, somewhere, or someone, we tend to shape our memories around the way we idealize them, and forget whatever does not coordinate with these idealizations. Is that biological or do we do it to ourselves in the sense that we force our minds to remember some stuff and forget others? To put into perspective, in a relationship I experienced in which we both hurt each other to the point of becoming very distant and not talking anymore, whenever I think of the situation, I remember everything I did that could’ve ruined it, and do not have one single memory of being hurt by that person without it having been my fault. My friends, however, are able to recall and tell me about various of these situations and even with them reporting them to me, I do not seem to remember experiencing that. What I remember from our relationship is the fact that I screwed up many times, and feel the guilt of being fully responsible for us growing apart. Till this day I wonder, how did my brain mechanisms influence the way I remember this experience in a certain way, without letting me see any differently.