Verbal after-images

As a former denizen of Manchester, it gave me a warm memory, on returning to that metropolis the other day, to hear the familiar sound:

Caution! Bollards in motion!

It got me thinking, though. Ten months away from Manchester and that phrase — not just its words but its tempo, pitch and timbre — is still etched into my brain.

In the era of recorded sound, specific repeated recorded phrases can become mnemonic cues, much like specific street scenes or smells.1

How many of these are cues for you?

Stand clear of the closing doors.

Unexpected item in bagging area!

Would Inspector Sands please come to the communication room?

Kids and grown-ups love it so; the happy world of Haribo.

First TransPennine Express apologises for the late running of this service, and for the inconvenience this may cause you.

Baggage left unattended will be removed by the security services and may be destroyed!

Your call is being held in a queue and will be answered as soon as possible.

Add your own in the comments!


  1. Been to Jorvik Viking Centre? Remember the smell? Of course you do. []

1 Comment

  1. Geraint
    Jun 16, 2011

    Not going to answer the question, but rather tell you about something interesting that happened to me last week. I was down at the University, and went to get some cash out of the cash machine I had used throughout my time at Uni, ten years ago. When I came to put my PIN in, I put in the PIN of the cash card I had at University, and it took me a while to remember my current PIN, which is usually just muscle-memoried into the terminal. 🙂

    I find that certain songs bring me back to the computer game I was playing at the time when I bought the album and would listen to it on pretty right rotation. Bullfrog’s Magic Carpet is forever linked in my mind to Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell II. There, I’ve said it. On the Internet.

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