What is CVI?

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Process of Recognition

Our brain contains two storage banks, full of memories gained from our experiences.

These storage banks, or if you prefer libraries, database or filing cabinets, are located in our temporal lobes.

Left and right filing cabinets, representing the left and right temporal lobes.Left and right filing cabinets, representing the left and right temporal lobes.

How the filing system works:

1) Experience & Memory

Memories are formed from experience, but not all of our experiences become memories. Walking along a road, many cars may pass you, but even though you experienced them, it does not mean you form a memory of every car.

The more focussed, important, interesting or repeated an experience is, the stronger the memory will be. Therefore, memories are deeply personal. What one person may remember from an event may be completely different from another person at the same event.

Memories are made from all the senses and beyond, including:

  • Memories of images
  • Memories of smells
  • Memories of sounds
  • Memories of textures
  • Memories of tastes
  • Memories of feelings and emotions

2) Recognition

To recognise anyone or anything there has to be a match in the filing cabinet. This match will be a memory formed from an experience. To recognise a friend in the street to greet and talk to, there has to be a memory (match). You may recognise your friend in many ways; not just their face, but their clothes, how they walk, their voice etc. However, without a match in the filing system, no matter how familiar someone or something may be to you, you cannot recognise them.

Successful Recognition Process

Experience - I stroke a cute and friendly dog in the park.  The owner tells me the dog is a Westie.

Memory - I remembered the breed name, the softness, the friendliness of both the dog and owner.

Recognition - Another day in a different park I saw a different dog. It was a close enough match for me to correctly recognise the dog as another Westie.Recognition - Another day in a different park I saw a different dog. It was a close enough match for me to correctly recognise the dog as another Westie.

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At CVI Scotland we are devoted to helping people understand cerebral visual impairments, and together working towards developing the understanding of this complex condition.