Memory can be a tricky thing. Some people have no trouble memorizing things easily and effortlessly, while others can have trouble remembering the seemingly most basic information. However, even if you feel like you fall into this latter group, it’s likely that there are some things for which you rely completely on memory.
It’s unlikely, for instance, that you consult a small notebook when people ask for your name or address, and you likely do not continue to introduce yourself to friends that you know well. You have their names memorized, and you’re unlikely to forget them. So what makes remembering some things easy, but others hard?
Different types of memories are stored different ways. Working memory, which is what enables someone to stay focused on a task while performing it is different from long term memory, which enables you to remember that you did the task a few hours later. In some severe medical cases, people have the ability for one but not the other.
For example, Henry Gustav Molaison was a severe epileptic who eventually had several parts of his brain removed. While curing the epilepsy, it caused severe anterograde amnesia.
Anterograde amnesia is the inability to form new memories, in contrast to retrograde amnesia, which is the loss of memories in the past up to a certain point. Retrograde amnesia is similar to what happens to the memories of all people before the age of about two years old. Anterograde amnesia is similar to what happens to someone with Alzheimer’s disease.
Henry was able to form very limited long term memories by modifying existing long term memories. This technique can also be helpful for people who do have the ability to form long term memories. Instead of trying to simply memorize something by rote, associate it with something you already know. The mind often works in chains and if you come up with a system of reminding yourself things, the task of remembering can be made much simpler.
Learn more about memory training. Stop by Bill S. Preston’s site where you can find out all about memory improvement tips and what it can do for you.