Memory is not just about remembering things or being able to memorise lessons easily and doing well in tests. It is a lot, lot more than that. It can be described as more like a movie – always in motion and progressive.
It is also uncontrollable. One does not choose to put something in their memories – it is an automatic and nonstop phenomenon. You cannot just shut it down. And because you cannot control memories, you often find yourself remembering the most bizarre things that do not seem to have enough significance for you to remember for years.
You can’t pick and choose what to remember and what to forget. Sometimes you might forget the details of a very important event in your life but remember a silly and random trip to the grocery store as if it changed your life.
It really is weird how the brain functions!
Do you remember your childhood? Invariably, all the memories that you have are of you beyond the age of 7. Prior to that, it is all a big blur.
Is that because we are afraid of these memories? Are we hiding our childhoods from ourselves? Highly unlikely.
This happens to every single human being. You are not alone. There is even a term for it – childhood amnesia.
Research has gone on for years on whether these memories have been wrapped up and put away in some part of the brain and whether these childhood memories can be brought back by some exercise or experiment. However, research suggests that in most likelihood, these memories are permanently lost. They literally just vanish – poof!
Basically, children do not have memories at all. Moments just occur and pass without leaving any imprint on their brain. Therefore, it is not really forgetting, because it was never there in the first place.
These are rather basic and widely common in human beings. Also, it happens to everyone without exception. Memory distortion is real.
In fact, even people with otherwise impeccable memory fall prey to memory distortions. This phenomenon therefore exhibits the fallibility of human memory.
So what is it really? Basically, minute details of certain events get distorted in the brain so you remember an incident slightly differently than how it really happened. This leads us to the concept of false memory.
The greatest minds of the world are also susceptible to memory distortions – no one is immune.
All memory is coloured with fragments of real life incidents. When you are reconstructing or recalling, it does not mean it is false.
You truly believe it happened in a certain way and a part of your identity and beliefs are mingled with the telling of a story. So, you are not exactly lying – you truly believe that certain tiny details happened in a certain way when it actually happened in a slightly different way.
To be honest, there is no downside of memory. Remembering events, both good and bad, fills you with a sense of wonderful nostalgia. Memorizing lessons obviously helps you do well in tests – the more you can memorize the better.
If there is at all a downside to memory, it is the lack of it. The inability to remember or recollect information that is reserved in your brain is called amnesia.
Amnesia arises due to brain damage via injury or due to use of certain sedative drugs. Amnesia may also be caused by psychological factors like stress or defense mechanism.
Amnesia is a complicated and confused brain process. It itself is incurable. But if there is some other mental disorder lying at the root of it, it must be treated instantly.
Usually memory is the strongest in young adults and diminishes with age, much like most other faculties of the human body. This diminishing memory leads to clouding in the brain during your old age.
However, this can be remedied. There are certain tools with the help of which one can increase his memory power and retain it for a longer span of time. Let us check these out: