What Memories Are Made Of

A few days after reading & posting about The Primal Teen, I found this interesting article about the chemicals the brain uses to make memories. You can check out the full article here, but here’s a quote that sums up what researchers found:

“University of Virginia psychologists have moved the science of memory forward, reporting that stimulating the vagus nerve, which carries sensory messages to and from the brain, releases the nuerotransmitter norepinephrine in to the amygdala, strengthening memory storagein limbic regions of the brain that regulate arousal, memory, and feeling responses to emotionally laden stimuli (emphasis mine).”

Then today I stumbled upon an article in USA Today about children as young as ten watching R-rated movies (Bride of Chuckie and Blade topping the list), and another article about the Teen Choice Awards, (the super-sexy show Gossip Girl won big). I thought about what I had read about memory making, and I began to wonder.

Parents, do you remember what it felt like to be a kid watching a scary movie? Did your heart pound? Do you remember being allowed to watch a steamy scene on TV? Did your pulse race? It’s very likely that during that time, your adrenaline was pumping, and norepinephrine was being released into your brain. That’s why you remember it.

We all know that TV today is laden with sexual imagery and violence. But do we know how much? Are we really sure we know what our teens are watching? And have we considered the effect it may have on them long-term?

It’s something to think about.