Dragaerans and learning (was re: the honing of Vlad)

Davdi Silverrock davdisil at gmail.com
Sun Feb 5 17:58:18 PST 2006

On 2/5/06, K Kuhn <kknolte at ecity.net> wrote:
> Davdi Silverrock wrote:
> <snip>
> >
> > This is something I've been pondering for a while, and while I don't
> > have a good answer, here's a wildly pararectal handwave:
> >
> > Consider that there is more than one type of memory, event memory, and
> > skill memory.  Event memory is broken down into short-term and
> > long-term memory, and skill memory is built from long-term memories.
> > Now, if you have really, really long lived entities, it would make
> > sense for them to be able to retain strong, long-term memories
> > throughout their lifetime.  However, it ought not be *too* easy to
> > form strong, long-term memories, because brain capacity is finite.  So
> > it therefore makes sense that it takes a lot longer for strong,
> > long-term skill memories to form in beings that have a lifespan of
> > 2000-3000 years.
> Is this an assumption that the Jenoine fiddled with how long it takes to
> form a memory on Dragaerans while they were fiddling with everything
> else (ie, if you're looking for differences between long-lived and
> short-lived versions, maybe you need to rearrange how memories are
> formed, otherwise your long-lived versions don't learn anything past
> their first century just like your short-lived versions),

Yes, something like that.  I mean, it follows from the fact that their
maturation rate appears to be a great deal slower than that of humans
(Easterners) that *something* has been slowed down in the way the
Dragaeran brain develops and works.  They don't seem to have a
generally slower metabolism or slower mental response, so the best
extrapolation is to look to memory formation as the explanation of the
slow maturation rate.

> (Not sure if it's evidence or not, but isn't there someplace where Vlad
> notes that Dragaerans can tell the difference between brandy and wine,
> but they don't call them separate names?  Would a tendency to lump stuff
> together, rather than splitting it, be a memory adaptation for
> long-lived types?)


I do note that Dragaerans do seem to try and simplify words and
phrases as much as possible.  Perhaps this is a cultural trend which
reflects a general neurological setup, but I would be leery of making
any definite statements without a greater background in neurology and

Ultimately, it may simply be that culturally, they generally don't
care that much about the way a refreshment has been created; they just
want to drink it.  Caring about something means that one pays
attention to fine distinction in varieties, and names them.  I'm sure
that Dragaerans involved in trading or creating brandy pay attention
to the difference, since they have a financial stake involved.

And as an analogy, consider that most Americans don't care whether a
beer is a lager or an ale or a lambec or whatever - they just want
Miller or Budweiser or Coors in large quantities (feh).  And to the
left, beer fans do care, and tend to be more aware of the

So I would tentatively conclude that the wine-brandy lack of
distinction is not that meaningful.

Perhaps our resident linguist will comment at some point.