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Inside Out
is a Pixar movie following an 11-year old
girl named Riley and the 5 main emotions in her head. The movie shows how
emotions “work” and how they affect our memories and how we remember them. Emotion
has a significant influence on attention, perception, reasoning, problem
solving, learning, and memory, all of which are the cognitive processes in humans.
(Tyng, Amin, Saad, & Malik, 2017). In the movie, it is portrayed that every
single memory we have has an emotion attached to it. Tying et al. (2017) also
says, emotion has a strong influence on attention which is a big part of encoding
as well as motivating action and behavior.

Encoding starts with perception through the senses the types of encoding
are auditory/phonemic, visual/structural. and semantic (see notes on What We Encode,
2018). Information is encoded to then become a memory because of attention and
effort, and emotion tends to increase attention (“Memory
Processes,” 2010). The storage process is like saving the information, it
is the unconscious process of preserving material in the brain, either within
the sensory memory, the short-term/working memory, or the long-term memory (“Memory
Processes,” 2010). The retrieval part of memory refers to the later
re-accessing of events or information from the past brought back from long-term
to short-term/working memory. Memories cannot be played back
like video tapes, a more accurate way to describe retrieval is the
reminiscing and unconsciously inferring those forgotten parts.

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Memory
is not localized to one part of the brain, one of the portions of memory is
located is the hippocampus, which is also associated with controlling emotions informational
memory (see Memory notes). The hippocampus is responsible for analyzing experiences
and then deciding if they will be encoded to long-term memory (“Memory
Processes,” 2010). While the five emotions represent the amygdala because
it is the part of the brain that involved with experiencing emotions, and in
the movie, they attach emotional significance to a new memory of Riley’s on the
control console in Headquarters. In the movie, the “headquarters” represents
the hippocampus because it is portrayed as the control center where the
emotions observe and move the memories to long-term.  The hippocampus acts as a kind of sorting center
where the new memories are compared and associated with previously experienced
ones. The multitude of information is then stored in various parts of the brain,
in the movie those places were the long-term shelves, imagination land,
personality islands, etc (“Memory Processes,” 2010).

Memory
consolidation is the process when short-term memories are converted into
long-term memories (Cherry, 2017). Memories are spread
out across the entire brain, and through the consolidation process, the brain
creates a map for navigating through the different parts to again find this new
stored information (Cherry, 2017). In the movie, the
train of thought, signified the consolidation process because it allowed
memories to be retrieved when they are needed and brought to “headquarters”. Experts
suggest that sleep (REM) can play an important role in the consolidation
process, because while sleep exists to reenergize our bodies it is also a
period of reflection and processing to strengthen information that was acquired
during the time spent awake (Cherry, 2017). Reconsolidation
is the strengthening of that information, it makes memories easier to recall (“Reconsolidation,” 2009). In the movie, it is noticeable
that memories affect sleep which is a form of reconsolidation because during
that REM those memories are being evaluated.

Emotion
tends to increase attention, and attention is important to the process of
encoding information to make memories, therefore emotion affects memory. It can
affect what is remembered and how it is remembered. In some instances, the
movie represented how emotion and memory work together by showing Riley feeling
a certain way and affecting how that is remembered and how well it is
remembered.

The use
of information that is remembered through memory causes the likelihood of the
information to be retained in long-term memory for a lengthier amount of time.
In the movie, the memories that Riley uses are more likely to be kept and not
thrown into the memory dump where memories are taken to be forgotten. Through
emotional connections Riley is able to encode. Storage wise, a day’s worth of
memories is transferred to a long term shelve or different parts of Riley’s
brain where the memory is seen fit, such as imagination land, train of thought,
or even the subconscious, any place where information was easily accessible for
those in headquarters. The movie portrays retrieval of memories in a different
way, retrieving memories was more of playing back recordings, having a picture,
or even playing video clips. Retrieval is more of writing the story again but
with only fragmentary notes or a solving a jigsaw puzzle with a few
self-created pieces, involving different elements stored in different parts of
the brain linked together by association (“Memory Processes,” 2010).

            In
the movie, sensory memory was retained because of the sensory impressions
created by the stimuli of hearing, smell, tough, sight etc. All the sensory
impressions associated with an emotion is transferred to short term. Short
term/working memory is the information held in the brain for a short period
ready to be used at that moment and this wasn’t very evident in the movie while
long-term memory was. Most information portrayed about long-term was correct except
for the retrieval aspect which fed into the myth of being able to play back
memories when actually, every time a memory is accessed, its bits are pieced
back together from unsolid notes. 

Inside
Out depicts the idea that memories can be forgotten if they are not worth
remembering, or just not thought about after a while. When actually, the debate
of whether humans actually forget, or are those memories just moved to the back
of the brain still goes on today. In the movie, some of the “sins of memory”
were committed. When Riley forgets about Bong Bong which is an example of
transience because of the loss of memory due to passage of time. Persistence of
the memories of her life and home back in Minnesota with a sadness accompanied
with it. bias due to her then known knowledge about San Francisco. and
Absent-minded when some subtle hints were missed by characters because they
were not paying attention.

Learning
and memory is helpful when it comes to responding quickly to situations that are
similar to past experiences. Attaching emotions to an event gives that thought
about memory some context, and makes it stronger because it is thought about
more and is given attention. Memories aren’t limited to a single emotion, which
is seen at the end of the movie, and they can start off with one emotion and
end with another. At the end of the movie that is the big reveal to show both
the growth of the emotions and Riley as well. That change does not mean those
memories aren’t good memories anymore they just have a different feeling.

 

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