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Rick Perry: A Lesson in Memory Retrieval?
Being a nerd though, I would really like to hear a memory expert chime in on this career catastrophe. Specifically, could Perry have saved himself by simply rambling out random ideas in hopes that something jogs his memory?
Years ago I heard an interview with a scientist (Fittingly, I can`t remember the name) who had a theory about `tip of the tongue` moments. He explained that trying to force ourselves to remember something in these tip of the tongue circumstances usually doesn`t work. The reason being we are relying on the same neural networks that failed the first time to give us the answer eventually. But simply trying to ``thinking harder`` is a flawed strategy because we aren't incorporating any new information (or clues, or neurons) into our thought process, and thus the outcome is always the same.
So when Rick Perry decided to list his three government departments over and over again, sure enough he was left blank every time.
It seems a much better strategy might have been to start speaking (and thinking) of anything else. As our memories are likely all linked together in one way or another, neuronally speaking, the chance that -any- random idea or thought might lead to an association with the ``tip of the tongue`` target is greater than those that have already failed.
So perhaps Perry might have been better to start discussing his coworkers or something he ate for lunch. But of course, if he had succeeded, it just wouldn't have been as funny.
Update: A neuroscientst did chime in on this. It turns out the amygdala is to blame. / http://www.theglobeandmai.../article2232403