16 4 / 2012
In my last post, I mused that Pinkie Pie must know over 3000 ponies, which according to Dunbar’s number is 2750 more than the number of people that a human can maintain social relationships with. The only requirements for inclusion among the 250 person limit in Dunbar’s number is that one knows “who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person.” Here I will posit that Pinkie Pie goes beyond the impossible by relocating most of her memory towards social relationships and basing those relationships around thin connections.
I believe that Pinkie Pie is a genius, and that she has incredible control over her memory—by which I mean that she’s great at forgetting things which don’t matter and retaining only what does in the moment. At times, Pinkie Pie is shown to have exceptional short-term memory, and other times she seems to have none. The truth is that she’s managing it carefully.
Outside of social relationships, what do we know that Pinkie knows? She seems to know lots of bizarre things which crop up in her mind at the spur of the moment. Pinkie Pie is masterfully utilizing memory cues. She doesn’t think about those random facts on a regular basis; but when she sees a memory cue, it crops up instantly.
I posit that Pinkie Pie rarely thinks about *anything* except for what the situation calls for. She intakes information, confines it to memory, and lives in each moment as the memories springing into her head guide her. This would help a lot to reconcile Pinkie’s common claims to not understand anything (including herself) while seemingly pulling endless knowledge out of her mane.
Now, think: what knowledge do you have? I know a million and one things that everyone knows about the world, and a few hundred more that I know from my own experiences. Where I have the most knowledge, though, is in innumerable trivial facts. I can tell you a thousand things about, for instance, the staff that work on anime, naming every show that they’ve worked on, what their input was, who else worked on it with them, and go on and on and on about it.
I have trivial knowledge of far more than 250 people. I think that Pinkie Pie also has nothing more than trivial knowledge of everyone in Ponyville, along with all of her random intake memory that surfaces when the moment calls for it.
Pinkie sees Roseluck. Her name—her appearance—the sight of her roses—all of these are strong cues for Pinkie to remember that Roseluck was in a flower competition recently. Callback memory. She sees somepony else and remembers their birthday. Trivial knowledge.
In the moment when Pinkie is sharing this knowledge, it is *all that she knows about whomever she’s talking to.* For instance, when Pinkie is talking to Matilda, the only active memory she has of her is her birth date and possibly some other trivial facts. When Pinkie sees Cranky’s picture book, it triggers her memory of Matilda’s book.
How does Pinkie remain in good standing with everypony when she only remembers trivial facts about them, and only in their presence? Because she fills in the gaps with her charisma. That is, after all, how she befriended everypony to begin with.
In actuality, I’ve just detailed how memory works and how social relationships work for everyone—the main thing to take away, though, is the idea that Pinkie can have so much extra memory space by never re-thinking things unless called upon by cues to do so.