Jason Bourne didn’t really have amnesia – it was more of a writer’s trick

It turns out Jason Bourne didn’t really have amnesia. That would require a hit on the head or something similar. He would then lose all of his past memories and kind up wake up clueless, maybe even unable to make new memories.

No, Jason Bourne had selective amnesia where he was able to forget all the bad things in his life, but remember how to speak several languages, fight 16 bad guys at once, and generally act like a superhero. This is called ‘dissociative amnesia’ which usually occurs after a traumatic event.

So, it is a form of amnesia just not one that requires you to be bonked on the head. It’s sort of the brains way of dealing with something to hard to handle. You forget that incident but remember pretty much¬†everything else and function normally.

It is the perfect writer’s device. Start your character with nothing but an awesome set of skills and bad guys to foil…fill in the personality later.

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More on this from an engaging post on neuroscience, The Weird History of Amnesia:

The major fascination with amnesia is that it’s so specific. When an amnesiac wakes in a hospital, they may not know who they are or where they are, but they do know that they are in a hospital. They know what hospitals are and what they look like. They retain the ability to talk, to count, to recognize certain aspects of the world they live in, while blanking out personal memories entirely.

 

 

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The Center for Human Imagination – new research institution from the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation

Imagination — one of the least understood but most cherished products of the mind and brain — will become the focus of wide-ranging study at a new center jointly founded by UC San Diego and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation.

The two institutions have created the UCSD-based Center for Human Imagination, which will involve thinkers from fields as different as technology, sociology, politics, medicine and literature, especially science fiction.

“We are changing the world so fast right now and the level of transformation is profound,” said Sheldon Brown, the UCSD media arts professor who was named director of the center. “This is the outcome of imagination. We need a more thoughtful, deliberative approach to understanding how it works.”

The perils and positives of imagination were a defining theme for Clarke, the British futurist and science fiction author who wrote such acclaimed books as “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Rendezvous with Rama.”

“Every couple of years, we are literally doubling our understanding of how the brain functions,” Brown said. “We can ask specific questions about how imagination works.

 

Keep reading –¬†UCSD creates Center for Human Imagination

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