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  You say: "My husband can drive or be driven somewhere once and remember the route months later, even if it's in another state. I, on the other hand, continue to get lost in my own city unless I follow a known route. Is there a sense-of-direction centre in the brain? Or does he just have a better general memory (even though he can't remember to buy milk)?"


  From brain expert David Perlmutter, MD, FACN: Good observation! In fact, the right parietal lobe and other areas of the brain are specifically involved in the process of learning and remembering directions and orientation. And men seem to have a better ability at this skill than women. Women, on the other hand, are more skilled at reading human emotional cues. Different people, different talents.


  It confuses itself.



  You say: " About a year and a half back, I booked a last-minute flight to a business meeting. I slept for most of the flight and awoke abruptly when the plane touched down. After several minutes, I finally reached into my briefcase and checked my calendar. Aha! A meeting in Toronto. It was only during the 7-minute drive across the airfield that I realized I was at a completely different airport than I thought I was. I know I may have been a little disoriented after waking up, but why didn't I get a clue from announcements on the plane, signs in the airport, or even the layout of the airport itself?"

  你說:“大約一年半以前,我預定了飛往一個商務會議的緊急航班。差不多睡了一路,飛機著陸時我才突然醒了。經過幾分鐘的搜索,我終於找 到了公文包,查看了日程表。啊哈!會場在多倫多。就在乘車穿過機場的7分鐘裏,我意識到,這個機場完全不是我預想的那個。我知道,剛睡醒時,可能有點方向 錯亂,可是為什麼我沒有從飛機上的公告,機場上的標誌,或者機場本身的佈局上看出來點眉目呢?”

  Dr. Perlmutter: You've already mentioned one important reason for your confusion-it's common to be confused after awakening, especially when you've slept at a time during the day that is unusual for your biological clock.


  Another important factor rings clear in your query. Your descriptions of the "last-minute flight" and preoccupation with the time constraints are clear explanations of why your mind was elsewhere. With all that going on, you were obviously relieved to find the answer to your confusion in your planner, so the rest of your brain relaxed. With less stress, you probably won't experience this again.


  It puts itself on autopilot.



  You say: "As I pulled into the office parking lot this morning, I realized I couldn't remember anything about the drive. How is the brain able to work on autopilot like this?"


  Dr. Perlmutter: The monarch butterfly has a brain smaller than a pinhead, and yet it can migrate more than 3,000 kilometres to a specific location. Your big brain can certainly allow you to drive to your office without conscious involvement-although I'm not advocating brain-dead driving. Repeated activities and behaviours create packages of information stored in the brain that, over time, become instructions when those activities are repeated. Under normal conditions, we call upon these instructions for familiar tasks and then make minor modifications moment to moment as our environment changes. If you had seen a large object in the road in front of you, your brain would click back on and you would consciously be able to steer around the hazard.

  佩爾穆特博士:帝 王蝶的大腦比針頭還小,但它能遷徙3000多公里到達特定地點。儘管我不提倡不動腦子的駕駛,但在沒有意識參與的情況下,你聰明的大腦確實能指導你將車開 到辦公室。重復的活動和行為產生資訊包,貯存在大腦裏,時間長了,這些資訊包在活動被重復時會轉化為指令。正常條件下,在做熟悉的工作時,我們喚醒這些指 令,當環境發生變化時,會隨時進行一些小的調整。如果看到前面的路上有個大障礙物,你的大腦會立即警覺,使你能自覺地繞過它。 

  It has trouble with familiar faces.



  You say: "Why do I sometimes blank on the names of totally familiar people when I try to introduce them? This happened once when I was in the mall with my best friend, and met up with another friend. I looked at the two of them, realized I couldn't remember either of their names, and finally said, 'Would you two please introduce yourselves?' Why did this happen?"

  你說:“有時候,當我想介紹老熟人時,為什麼卻忘了他們的名字?有一次,我和最要好的朋友購物時,碰到另一個朋友,就發生了這種事情。我看著她倆,發現她們的名字我全想不起來了,最後只好說,‘請你們互相介紹一下,好嗎?’ 這是怎麼回事呢?”

  Dr. Perlmutter: The information was encoded firmly in your brain; the problem was with retrieving it. It could be that spotting your other friend in the mall shocked you in some small way, or you worried about how to handle the situation, and the emotion temporarily jammed your retrieval system. Totally normal. Now, here's the bad news: Because this has happened to you and the experience was embarrassing, any situation that requires introductions could become a source of anxiety. Then, the brain "jam" could happen again and again. It is an everyday form of stage fright. Like any actor, try to rehearse your "lines" as you see the scenario about to unfold, and you'll be just fine.

  佩爾穆特博士:這 些資訊已被編譯並牢牢地記錄在你的大腦中,只是資訊檢索時出了問題。可能在這個商場裏碰到其他朋友有些讓你吃驚,或許,你為如何應付這個局面而煩惱,你的 情感暫時阻塞了檢索系統。這完全正常。但還有個壞消息:因為你遭遇過這樣的事,並體驗了尷尬,所以任何需要介紹的情境都可能引發你的焦慮。於是,大腦“阻 塞”可能會一再發生。這就是怯場的日常表現形式。可以像演員一樣,當看到這種情況臨近時,盡力演練“臺詞”,這樣你將會有不錯的表現。