Human memory can sometimes be unreliable, even when you think you are remembering everything accurately, there might be things that you have forgotten. Human ability to remember depends on the short term memory. Science has tried to figure out how the human brain works but very little has been discovered and known.
Remembrance is the only effects that determines our ability to recall events as they happen, talk to your friends, and do other useful things in a coordinated way. There are people who will forget very easily and this may lead to quarrels or even death in case one is driving.
How the memory remembers thing
Memory of the things we see such as images, are stored in the visual memory. The memory uses visual memory to perform even simple tasks such as computations and even greater things such as remembering the face of a friend we just met. Memories of this we did recently are stored in the visual short-term memory particularly visual working memory. The visual working memory works the same way as the computer RAM to store visual images temporarily while your mind works out other tasks.
The memory stores the information from the short-term memory in relation to what you can connect that image with. If you can connect that image with something else, the chances of remembering that information are high. Pattern recognition also helps your brain to remember information about an object or item.
Experts believe that the hippo-campus and the frontal cortex parts of the brain are responsible for analyzing the various sensory inputs and deciding if they’re worth remembering. If they are, they become part of your long-term memory and are stored in different parts of the brain.
For memory to be created, you must pay attention to whatever you want to remember. This is because the brain is capable of filtering those things that it deems unimportant in your everyday life. These things are not remembered.
Memories are fragile
Human memory, from above, is perception driven. Memory is charged by Nostalgia and our memory of major events is mostly unreliable. Most people have flashbulb memories of how things happen and where they were when they were happening. Most people also tend to remember the positive effect more than the negative. People also are egocentric bias in that they tend to remember about ourselves being better more than about other people. This implies that we are constantly changing memories in the way that benefits how we view ourselves and therefore we don’t have trust our memories.
Sometimes we tend to assume that we will not forget about some brilliant ideas, just because we trust our brain in everything. Afterwards, we realize that we can’t remember what the idea was all about. This implies that we sometimes may be overconfident in our ability to remember.
Knowing that your memory is not perfect means you’ll have to pay more attention to those imperfections in the future.
What you can do to improve your memory
Improving your memory is more of lifestyle and paying attention to what you are doing in your day-to-day life. The following methods can be used to improve remembrance:
- Exercise regularly
- Get a good night sleep
- Try memorization techniques
Exercise helps you build muscles or more stamina. Physical exercises affect the brain in a number of positive ways in order to boost memory. Brain health which incorporates both aerobic and resistance training, which helps in the cognitive aspect of the brain. This enhances your memory storage and retrieval, basically, the better chances of remembering something.
Get good Night’s Sleep
Sleep plays a significant role in memory formation. When doing experiments, a person who sleeps more tends to remember most of the things such as patterns, sequence or words learnt during the day. Declarative memories(things like facts and knowledge) are enhanced by deep sleep whereas implicit memories(long term memories that don’t require conscious thought like riding a bike or tying shoe) are enhanced by REM sleep(Sleep characterized by Rapid Eye Movements). In essence, it’s thought that the better the sleep you get each night, the better your memory.
Some of the most insidious effects of too little sleep involve mental process like learning, memory, judgment and problem solving. During sleep, new learning memory pathways become encoded in the brain and adequate sleep is necessary for those pathways to work optimally. People who sleep for long are able to learn a task and are more likely to remember what they learnt.
Try memorization techniques
Your memory may not be as bad as you think, what you need is little training to keep it in shape. Studying may also help you improve your memory. As you struggle to get the concept, the brain adapts itself to keeping what you study in the long term memory. There are certain techniques that you may use to retain information.
The following tips may help you in that:
- Improve your memory with chunking techniques- This techniques helps you remember through pattern recognition. For example, you can remember your phone number using the numbers on your phone pad.
- Combine information with bizarre images- This techniques uses crazy thoughts to remember things. For example, to remember to buy bananas and milk in the market, you can remember a giant banana with a hatchet chasing after a cow that is ready to burst with milk.
- Use a mnemonic peg system- Lists items in a list as a rhyme. Once the item in the list is pegged, you can easily remember.
- Increase your power of perception and observation- Pay more attention to what’s happening and watch the world closely for connections between what is happening and what you know. This will help you to remember much of the details about an event.
- Take a nap- We have seen that sleep helps you improve your memory. Taking a nap may therefore help you improve your memory ability.