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Six reasons your memory is stranger than you think

Your mental timeline is skewed

Research has shown that we often underestimate the amount of time that has passed from long ago, and overestimate the amount of time that has passed since more recent events.

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Six reasons your memory is stranger than you think

Six reasons your memory is stranger than you think

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20181205-six-reasons-your-memory-is-stranger-than-you-think

bbc.com

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Key Ideas

Early memories are not reliable

Scientists believe that it is impossible to recall the first few years of life. Many of the necessary brain structures for memory have not yet matured at the time. It means that it is physiologically impossible for your brain to remember personal events from infancy.

Any recollections are patched together from other knowledge we acquired later on.

Your memory depends on context

If we learn facts while we are doing something, we will be able to recall them better, when we are doing that same thing again.

You can use this information to your advantage: for instance, try chewing a particular gum while studying.

You remember an overall impression

Try to describe a person in detail, and you will find that you remember their general features, but the particular details are challenging to recall.

Remembering the overall impression is an advantage. The details of a face may change from day to day, but the general features will remain - meaning that you can still recognize your friend even with a different hairstyle.

People overestimate their memory

Many people believe their memory is better than average. We forget the times our memory has failed us, and prefer to recall all the times it succeeded. Then we proceed to assume next time we will be accurate.

Subscription services can take advantage of this by offering a free trial for a limited period, after which automatic payments will be made. Many people forget to cancel their subscription.

Digital amnesia

Posts from Facebook and Instagram can help us to retain certain events. Yet, our memories distort the past events by remembering only the details we recalled and forgetting the information linked to it.

It may make some memories seem more meaningful and memorable than they actually were.

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