Memories- Are they real or is your brain playing tricks on you?

All of us are aware of the tricks our memory plays on us in our lives. Like the time when you spend the whole night before exam cramming information from your textbooks and when you try to remember your mind goes blank. Or when you remember the most embarrassing event that happened to you but nobody else remembers it. Some people remember the smallest things that happened in the past while the others cannot remember any of those things. Ever had an argument with a friend when they forgot your birthday, when you never fail to wish them every year. Well it’s not all their fault. Our memory is partly at fault.

The study of memory is a fascinating field and researchers have reported many new phenomena which show the dynamic nature of human memory. Here are some interesting types of memories-

False memories-

Did you know that you cannot trust all of memories? False memory is an interesting phenomenon that is induced by powerful imagination of an event that did not even take place at all. Research suggests that memory can be induced and implanted through inflation of imagination.

Flashbulb memories-

There are memories of some events that are very surprising. Such memories are very detailed, they are like a photo from a camera that are stored in our brain and you can take a look at it whenever you want. They are like images tied to a particular time, place and date.

Autobiographical memories-

These are personal memories. Kind of like our Facebook timeline, they are not evenly spread across our lives. Some periods of our lives produce more memories than others. For e.g. In early childhood especially during the first 4-5 years, we have no memories related to those years, it is also known as childhood amnesia. After that there is a dramatic increase in the frequency of the memories i.e. during the twenties. Around 30 years of age, there is a decline in certain kinds of memories.

Implicit Memories-

This is the kind of memory that a person is not aware of. It is a memory that is stored automatically. For e.g. One interesting example of implicit memory comes from typing, if someone knows typing that means they also knows the particular letters on the keyboards.

Repressed memories-

Some individuals undergo traumatic experiences. Memories of those events are hurtful, such memories are repressed into the unconscious. It is a kind of repression- painful, threatening and embarrassing memories are held out of consciousness.

Forgetfulness or loss of memories under stress and high anxiety is not uncommon.

But we can still improve our memories by using some techniques such as chunking (learning in several small chunks that are combined to form large chunks) and by deeply analyzing a particular piece of information makes it easier to remember it.

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