Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Forming Place Memories

Daytona Beach, FL
29 07.600 N 080 57.942 W

I hate repeating myself on this blog, but after 2500+ posts it is getting difficult.  But ...

The stretch of the Florida ICW between St. Johns River and Fort Pierce, is very familiar to us.  We have been past this stretch 19 times, probably 3 times on the outside, and 16 times on the ICW.  It is not our home waters.  Lake Champlain is our home waters.  But it is very very familiar.

I'm curious about the cognitive aspects of "place memory."  I believe that it involves more than just memorizing the appearance of a place.   I think that it comes from associating one or more events with the place where those events happened.

As I cruise down the ICW, I can associate a memory with almost every twist or turn.   There was a boat aground here.   The wind heeled me over here.   I had to douse the sail on that turn.  I chatted with the skipper of another vessel on the radio here.  Lots of traffic on weekends there.  I wonder what life is like in that trailer park over there?   I recall thinking that lagoon was very pretty.

I'm not a cognitive scientist, so I can't express my theory scientifically.  But I bet that it is correct.  Time-thought-place are the three legs of forming place memories.

By the way, it has been very hot and very humid.  Thanks to a tip from Dave, we have been using new high-tech neck cooling towels.  You soak it in water, wring it out, snap it once, then put it around your neck.  It keeps your neck about 10 degrees cooler than ambient for up to an hour.  Since the blood vessels to your head are close to the surface there, that is a strategic place to cool your whole body.  It works.

I don't have a neck towel for my cell phone.  For the past month, it acts up when humid and refuses to recharge.   When we had the car, I learned that opening the phone, taking out the battery, then putting it on the dashboard defrost vent is the cure.  I give it 15 minutes of high heat, then 15 minutes of AC cool.  Then it works for a whole week.  On the boat, we don't have a defroster (thank God), so I have to store the phone in the rice jar every night.  That's a good cruising tip.  Rice dehydrates the air.

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