Monday, January 28, 2013

It all makes sense now.

For Russians, Ivan Turgenev' Fathers and Sons has always been an ultimate account of generation gap, telling a story of young people trying to change the world with radical views and actions. What really important is the ending - the protagonist, dying from a blood infection, finally rejects his nihilism and spends the last days of his life as a loving son.
What this character was primary upset with has been his parent's attention, and specially constant recalls of their youth. As you might see, the phenomenon of parents telling their offsprings truly outstanding tales of the past is nothing new - neither your parents nor your grandparents have invented this kind of torture - it has existed for centuries.
By now, you might be wondering - "If this is old as humanity, is this somehow encoded into our behavioral patterns?"

Luckily for us, not only Connie Svob and Norman Brown, the writers behind Twentysomething, have come up with an idea that humans memorize their early years because of all the important experience they get, but also have actually conducted research. The study compared what people both from peaceful and war-torn nations had heard from their parents. As it turned out, the overwhelming fraction of them has been some sort of important youth memory. Early memories turned out to be, in fact, to be the most commonly remembered thing.

For me, this has been a great insight into the way human body and mind works. Even such a trivial thing as memorization turned out to contribute to procreation and survival. This is a great surprise for me, to say the least. From this, however, comes the question: how many evolution-driven types of behavior or reaction routines are there? Does this mean there may be such thing as evolutionary psychology?

I'd like to hear a peer opinion.

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