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Secrets of remembering and forgetting


The human brain is a complex and mysterious organ, and even now we know far from everything about how it works. Why are some events remembered and others forgotten? How to improve memory and maintain intellectual activity until old age?

Today we will talk about some interesting features of remembering and forgetting.


1. Eraser effect

Secrets of remembering and forgetting

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A person always wants to keep joyful, pleasant events in his memory and quickly forget everything that upsets him. Unfortunately, we do not always have power over our memory. The brain sometimes chooses what to remember and what to forget, without relying too much on our desires.

According to scientists, bright events are best “stuck” in memory (regardless of their emotional coloring). Routine everyday impressions are poorly remembered, although they are repeated much more often. This feature of the brain is called the “eraser effect”.


2. Memorization through pronunciation

Secrets of remembering and forgetting

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The human body, as far as possible, protects itself from overloads, including emotional ones. That is why the memorization mechanism is equipped with a kind of filter that cuts off those events and impressions that the brain considers unsuitable for long-term storage.

However, if necessary, this "watchman" can be deceived using the method of pronunciation. It consists in the fact that a person mentally repeats words and phrases many times that describe an event that he would like to remember. Despite the simplicity of the method, it works, and such memories really last for years.



3. Using life experience when remembering

Secrets of remembering and forgetting

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Studying the problems of memory, scientists have found that people who read a lot, even at a respectable age, remember the events of their own lives faster and in more detail than their peers who do not bother reading.

As it turned out, the point here is not so much in the mechanical training of memory (which also takes place), but in the brain's ability to record information, correlating it with a person's life experience. And since reading people, in addition to purely eventual experience, also have emotional experience, gleaned from fiction, their memory works more efficiently.


4. Memorization through visualization

Secrets of remembering and forgetting

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In most people, visual memory is better developed than auditory or tactile. This property can be used when you need to remember something. With a little practice, you can learn to mentally create a kind of video sequence, imagining pictures that you associate, for example, with a poem. When this becomes a habit, remembering what you need will become easier.



5. Unconscious memory

Secrets of remembering and forgetting

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One of the properties of the human brain is the ability to involuntary memorization. Indeed, we sometimes do not even know what information we have. Many people who happened to be alone for a long time later noted that they easily recalled long poems and even entire prose chapters – parts of those books that they once read, but did not try to memorize. This indicates that our memory may contain information that we did not intend to store, and reproduce it in an extreme situation.


6. Mental work against age-related memory decline

Secrets of remembering and forgetting

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It has long been known that people who have been engaged in scientific research all their lives retain a good memory until old age. The maintenance of intellectual activity is facilitated, first of all, by the constant search and assimilation of new information.

What about those people whose professional activities are not connected either with science or with teaching? They are also able to provide their memory with regular training. For a long time it was believed that the role of such exercises should be mainly actions consisting in the mechanical memorization of texts (memorizing poems) or the use and expansion of vocabulary (solving crossword puzzles). These exercises are undoubtedly useful, but the most effective way to train memory is to assimilate information that is fundamentally new for a given person. It is it that allows you to form fresh neural connections in the cerebral cortex and increase their number.

According to modern ideas, memory is best preserved by those people who are simultaneously interested in the maximum number of a wide variety of things (analyze political events, study foreign languages, do needlework, crop production and cooking, follow the news of cultural life, read a lot of fiction, in adulthood drive a car, etc). Simply put, breadth of interests is the most effective way to achieve intellectual longevity.


Scientists who have studied the features of human memory have established the following:

  • in order to remember in great detail what he needs, a person must remain in a very quiet room, completely alone. The fact is that the brain, avoiding overloads, perceives any noise as an obstacle to the reproduction of information stored in memory;
  • the process of memorization is facilitated when a person is full. After eating, the brain receives a shock dose of glucose, and its performance increases;
  • a little stress also contributes to memorization, since in this case events acquire an emotional coloring;
  • severe and prolonged stress, on the contrary, dulls the memory.

The study of the features of the brain continues. Researchers have to uncover many secrets, the knowledge of which will help people maintain health, memory and intellectual activity until old age.