• Question: why do we only remember some stuff and not others

    Asked by 10cargeoa to Hannah, Ian, Jono, Mark on 26 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Hannah Brotherton

      Hannah Brotherton answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      Hi 10cargeoa,
      Our memory is so unique. We remember things if it is linked to an emotion…..so have you ever been shouted at, at school and then can’t get it out of your head for ages.This is because your emotions have made the memory stronger.
      It is evolution. if we are scared or sick, we need to remember what caused it, because it is probably dangerous. If we remember it, we will know to never come into contact again.

      But humans still have this evolutionary memory, an so thats why we remember exams, or films or break-ups but forget things that don’t mater like walking down the street, eating, even breathing.


    • Photo: Ian Wilson

      Ian Wilson answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      Hi 10cargeoa,

      We think that memory is used to help us learn from our mistakes and keep us alive longer. Your memory is used as a store for important information and for remembering key experiences in your life.That’s why you can probably remember where you were the day something terrible happened but don’t remember what you had for lunch a week ago.

      The strange thing is that we remember emotional events that didn’t really effect us either. So, I remember exactly where I was when the planes hit the World Trade Centre 12 years ago. It didn’t massively impact my life but it was very sad so it’s stuck with me. We’re still trying to work out why this happens. Maybe emotions being tied to a memory make them easier to recall or store? We just don’t know for sure yet.

      Hope that helps,