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The reminiscences of the past

Have you ever thought that: “The emotion associated with a future simulation is the glue that binds together the details of the scenario in memory”?

According to António Damásio, everything that we remember or “each memory” has an emotion attached to it. Often, when we find an answer to a problem or challenge we remember not only what this challenge suggests to us but the emotions associated with our memories related to this “something”. These exercises of memory and of the future are something that is steeped in design thinking.


“Design thinking is a human-centered innovation process that emphasizes observation, collaboration, fast learning, visualization, and rough prototyping. The objective is to solve not only the stated problem at hand, but the real problems behind the obvious. The best way to do so is to involve consumers, designers, researchers, and businesspeople in an integrative process, which can be applied to product, service, or even business design. It is also a tool to imagine future states and to bring products, services, and experiences to market. “

I think, speaking of memories of recent events, what we experience in this century, the various events and emerging social practices that mark it, confirm that the society has reached a point of no return on the influence of information technology on social structure and formation of their practices.

This influence has its consequences in what tomorrow will be our memory. These changes require significant adjustments in how we design and develop our knowledge, our products and our services.

Information technologies are instruments of preserving memories and eventually record the data, based on “static” situations and not considering the environment in which they operate.

For a good preservation of our memories is important to take into account the location of everything that have registered in a context so that the decisions that are taken are a function of the situation and the way in which the situation is constructed or interpreted.

This means that each time that we interpret a situation we are revamping and build memories with new structures, because new values or variables are introduced.

In this way not only this constructive memory produces new memories, as allows us to reinterpret our previous experience illuminated by current conditions.

“This behaviour has been seen in empirical studies of designers. For example, Suwa et al (1999)describe how an architect during the designing of a museum emerged a visual axis and then used that visual axis as the driving idea. He did this not only for all his future designing activity but also by reinterpreting his past design ideas on the project in terms of this visual axis”

Episodic memory, the system that allows people to recall past experiences, it is widely understood as a fundamentally constructive dialogue instead of a reproduction of the past, but this process is prone to various kinds of errors and illusions.

An important function of a constructive episodic memory is to allow people to simulate or imagine future episodes, events and scenarios.

Since the future cannot be ever an exact repetition of the past, the simulation of future episodes requires a system that can extract from the past, flexibly, and recombine elements of previous experiences.

But as we often do not need to remember all the exact details of our experiences, our system has adapted and need not preserve all details, noting only those details when the circumstances indicate that it is likely to be required.

Cognitive scientists are very interested in people’s “remembered futures.” The whole idea seems contradictory in a way, as we tend to think of memory in connection with the past—recollections of people and things gone by. The fact is that we all imagine the future, and from time to time we recall those imaginary scenarios. Recent research has shown that the same brain areas are active when we remember past events and when we think about the future. Indeed, some scientists believe that these “memories” are highly adaptive, allowing us to plan and better prepare ourselves for whatever lies in store. If we can remember the actions and reactions we thought about in the past, our future behavior will be more efficient.”

Remember past events are associated with sensory details richer, contextual and alive that were imagined in future events.


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