13 Facts About Your Memory That You Won’t Forget
Although one’s memory can potentially be limitless in its capacity, our short-term memory can only remember, on average, seven things at a time. It’s not an accident that phone numbers are only seven digits!
Having trouble remembering what you need to do for that client meeting? That test? Need a cup of joe, right? WRONG. Caffeine may, seemingly, help one remember things better, but it’s only because it improves alertness and concentration rather than actual memory storage.
Life would be a lot easier if we could remember everything from the moment we were born. Alas, one typically doesn’t start to solidify formed memories until the age of about three or four years old. Researchers found young children do, in fact, create memories; however, they’re not stored as the brain develops.
We’ve all been there. You smell chocolate chip cookies and think of home, you catch a whiff of your old perfume and it reminds you of your past, or you inhale the essence of anything that brings you back to a certain place in time. This is because our sense of smell engages with the brain’s hippocampus, which is an integral part of memory formation.
The truth will set you free! But what if you don’t remember it?! Turns out, if other people tell you enough times that you’ve been somewhere or done something you haven’t done, your memory can literally create false memories of something that never even happened!
In order to think properly, you need a deep REM cycle. Turns out, so does your long-term memory! While you’re sleeping, your long-term memory takes a short break, which contributes to your dreams not only relating to short-term instances, but also to having little to no memory of these dreams when you wake up. Dream on!
Practice makes perfect… or so we thought. It was commonly believed that in order to remember/learn something new, one should practice that thing every day. However, it just so happens that memories are better recollected by changing it up a bit.
School is one of our main places to learn, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s the only place or way conducive to remembering what you’ve learned. Approaching certain information in a variety of ways (even within one context) can completely change how you develop your long-term memory.
Like any muscle, your brain needs to be worked out in order to stay sharp. In the same way you try to be active, so do your neurons — so think long and hard!
It’s not only physical context that affects your long-term memory; visual features can, equally, change how one processes information. Interestingly, harder-to-read fonts help us to remember more easily because we’re, once again, being challenged to work out our mind!
The process of memory goes so deep… literally though. Researchers found women’s memory formation was affected by the depth in a man’s baritone. The deeper the man’s voice, the more memory retention! It’s all about a good pitch. 😉
When answering a question or engaging in a conversation, looking at another person’s face can be quite distracting. Therefore, looking away actually gives you the chance to gather your thoughts and concentrate more effectively, enhancing your memory in the process.
Although left-handed people make up approximately 10% of the population, what they lack in numbers they make up for in the size of their corpus callosum, which connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain, overall improving their memory.