Saturday, 21 September 2013

Writing - Muscle memory and dragon kettles

Have you noticed that the term 'muscle memory' seems to be the in phrase at the moment. It can be used to excuse mistakes and unfortunate behaviour.

It seems to me that it is another word that absolves the miscreant from blame. hat happened to 'I'm sorry it was my fault?' - or I'm just old-fashioned.

I was reminded of the use of the term when watching Tom Cruise in the film 'Jack Reacher' (Books by Lee Child). He is talking to a policeman and asking why a suspected shooter should pay for parking his van when he was about to shoot 5 people. The answer 'muscle memory'! The definition is below.

Muscle memory has been used synonymously with motor learning, which is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. When a movement is repeated over time, a long-term muscle memory is created for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed without conscious effort. This process decreases the need for attention and creates maximum efficiency within the motor and memory systems. 

I think this could be nicely categorised as 'habits'. Like many behaviours you get good and bad habits and you can change your behaviour and eliminate the bad things.

What has the above to do with dragon kettles? Well motor learning can be induced by pain! 

How do I know that? Well I had an accident last Monday and like all such it was my own stupid fault. I scalded the inside of my right arm reaching across the spout of the kettle which was just coming to the boil. I've taken off about 3cm x 1cm of skin and it hurts like the very devil. The physical aftermath is ameliorating somewhat but the psychological after effects will take longer to go away.

It may sound stupid but I don't trust the kettle anymore! There is an increase in adrenaline when I go anywhere near the bloody thing. I can remember the searing pain slicing through my arm every time I make a hot drink and it has made me doubly careful about its use. There is a link between me and that blasted kettle and it was introduced by my mistake.

Be careful out there!

God Bless