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Applying torture theory to baby wipes

(2 Posts)
ThomasRichard Tue 23-Feb-16 20:16:56

So, based on information gleaned entirely from The Hunger Games blush theoretically it's possible to 're-wire' someone's brain under torture so that previous memories/knowledge is replaced with something else.

When the DC were little, after a while baby wipes smelt strongly of baby poo and even when we got past the nappy stage wipes smelt of poo. Friends report the same experience, with the strong poo smell gradually going away as their children grew further away from babyhood.

I was pondering this today and wondering whether the baby poo effect is the same as the results gained from memory-suppressing torture, due to the severe sleep deprivation, unpleasant smell, stress, repetition of mundane tasks and raging hormones associated with changing a baby's nappy. Are our brains being rewired under accidental torture?

OutwiththeOutCrowd Sun 24-Apr-16 23:30:11

I think your experience sounds more like a consequence of associative learning and conditioning than the result of mental torture, although the early years of child-rearing can certainly feel torturous!

Your brain learnt to associate the wipes with the smell of poo so that even when only the wipes were there, your brain conjured up the poo smell. It seems a bit reminiscent of Pavlov’s dogs. They came to associate the sound of a bell with the arrival of food to such an extent that the bell alone could instigate salivation.

Your experience also makes me think of the somewhat related Proustian phenomenon of finding that a simple experience in the present reconnects you to a similar experience in the past that opens out into the recollection of a larger set of interconnected experiences. In the case of Proust in A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu the trigger is a madeleine cake and in your case the trigger is a baby wipe!

(Apologies if I have been too cerebral on the subject of poo here!)

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