Interesting Facts About Memory: An Essential Human Skill

Do you remember what you ate for breakfast this morning? If the image of a plate of eggs and bacon popped into your mind, that memory was the result of an incredibly complex power—one that reassembled various memory impressions from a web-like patter of cells scattered throughout our brain.
Memory is an essential human skill, relied upon on as a second-to-second basis for survival, yet still mysterious and poorly understood. Memory has two components—short term and long term. Most short-term memories only last 20 to 30 seconds. Memory is influenced by a variety of factors. Memory based on what you saw vs what you hear is called visual and auditory memory.
Daily, our brain processes information while all of the different systems work together perfectly to provide a cohesive thought. Thanks to memory, we can store, preserve and reproduce information.
Our memory helps make us who we are. From fondly recollecting childhood events to remembering where we left our keys, memory plays a vital role in every aspect of our lives. It provides us with a sense of self and makes up our continual experience of life.
It’s easy to think of memory as a mental filing cabinet, storing away bits of information until we need them. In reality, it is a remarkably complex process that involves numerous parts of the brain. Memories can be vivid and long-lasting, but they are also susceptible to inaccuracies and forgetting.
Below are SEVEN interesting facts about Memory:
1. There is such a thing as “false memory”. Researchers are beginning to understand that the human mind can create, exaggerate, distort, or re-invent a memory after a traumatic experience or something that impacted them greatly.
2. Sleep is important to memory. Although scientists don’t know exactly how it affects the brain, it has been shown that sleep aids storage and retrieval of long-term memories.
3. Most short-term memories are quickly forgotten. The total capacity of short-term memory is fairly limited. Experts believe that you can hold approximately seven items in short-term memory for about 20 to 30 seconds. This capacity can be stretched somewhat by using memory strategies such as chunking, which involves grouping related information into smaller “chunks.”
In a famous paper published in 1956, psychologist George Miller suggested that the capacity of short-term memory for storing a list of items was somewhere between five and nine. Today, many memory experts believe that the true capacity of short-term memory is probably closer to the number four.
4. Many people associate memory loss with aging. However, the memory loss we see the older we get is generally because we tend to exercise our brains less as we age.
5. The mind must be exercised just like any other muscle in the body. The harder you think about a memory, the more likely you are to remember it accurately. Thinking will create a stronger link between active neurons.
6. Scientific research has shown that the human brain starts remembering things from the womb—memory begins to work 20 weeks after conception.
7. The hippocampus is the part of the brain largely responsible for the formation of new memories and directly interacts with our sense of smell.

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