By: A. Hemnani
Picture from: https://www.istockphoto.com/br/fotos/woman-trying-to-remember
In our day to day lives we forget about 56 percent of any information within an hour, 66 percent after a day, and 75 percent after six days! However, we can find ourselves perfectly recalling other events that have happened years ago. Why? The answer to this is emotion! According to Psychology Today, “emotion acts like a highlighter that emphasizes certain aspects of experiences to make them more memorable.”
For example, some events, such as the joy of your child's birth, or the tragedy of a family member dying, will stay with you forever. There are two stress hormones that help to improve, and solidify memory. If you think evolution wise, it makes sense for us to recall dangerous circumstances with more clarity in order to avoid them in the future.
There is an old saying that says “sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you,”. Well, research has proven the opposite. It suggests that damaged feelings may be more painful than physical pain. In fact, emotional experiences are vastly more memorable than physical pain.
Mood memory is a factor that makes us remember certain things based on the tone of the memory. For example, if you are feeling gloomy, you are more likely to remember sad memories. This is because your mood will bring certain associations to mind. Different memories can be primed due to the environment around you: this can include the smell, sounds, people or even a scenery.
We also tend to remember and emphasize the best or worst moment and the last moment of an experience, while overlooking the duration. This is called the peak-end rule. When remembering something we also use our 5 senses. Have you ever linked a sound or a smell to a certain experience?
We can all relate to being in a high-pressure situation and not being able to recall something important, stress is the cause for this. The loss in information previously retained in short-term or long-term memory is known to as forgetting. It can happen all at once or gradually as old memories fade away. This can occur for a variety of causes, including the difficulty to retrieve a memory or as memories begin to deteriorate and you are unable to recollect them.
To remember things, we have to register the information, process it, store it and be able to retrieve it. Emotion impacts all these stages of memory formation. Unfortunately, forgetting is guaranteed for all, however scientists have proven that things such as exercise, a good sleep schedule and rehearsing information can minimize forgetting.