The concept of memory is quite an intriguing one for the most part. From recalling the minutest details of the distant past to reminding oneself about the approaching examination, there are functions beyond the understanding of commoners. For this and more, psychologists have segregated memory into parts that makes us understand how and what we forget to the inner mechanisms causing such. There is nothing abnormal with forgetfulness for the brain is hardwired to function that way. It will be interesting to see few amazing facts delineating how people forget.
Childhood memories wither, courtesy the brain programming
There’s a reason why the early years of our life are hard to recall, say around 3 to 5 years of age or so. Researchers say infantile amnesia is common. Traces of childhood events are present but children lack the required language skills to contain them in their memories. A possible explanation given is the continuous growth of the brain helping generate more cells, which eventually pushes off childhood memories.
Brain injuries can wreak havoc
Strange as it may sound but losing memories even before the storage process is possible. Several injuries and ailments are often manifested in the form of severe mental abnormalities. Few structures in the brain dealing with the formation of memory or recall are generally the worst affected; so much so that parts like the hippocampus are often removed during surgeries to restore normalcy in patients. Damage to such sensitive regions lead to serious bouts of amnesia or complete loss of memory after virus causing brain inflammation and so on.
Activities that rub out impressions
This is a rare one but not unseen or unheard of. Few tasks produce a condition called ‘transient global amnesia’, which is ideally temporary loss of memory coupled with brain fog. In such cases, patients are often found to be battling with their own selves for failing to recall recent or newly formed memories. Though there aren’t serious side effects of the transient global amnesia as this happens and disappears into oblivion a few hours later or can be shorter than that, but during such phases turmoil is evident. As per reports and brain scans, tracing the real reason for such a condition has not been possible but no sign of brain damage or stroke is found.
Memory destruction via doorways
Incidents of short-term memory failures whereby individuals have discovered themselves in a room, without being able to decipher how and why are common. The ‘doorway’ concept, as researchers say, hints that passing via a doorway marks the onset of a new scene and pushes away old memories, resulting in such weird lapses. However, one thing cannot be disregarded. These ‘mental event boundaries’ are primary in arranging our so called ‘mental time-lines’ that helps figure out the ‘how’, why’, ‘where’ and ‘when’ of specific events.
None of the above?
After a strange case in the year 2013, researchers concluded that certain hallucinations of an event, a case or anything that becomes difficult to recognize in the first place are always present. It could be that the memory is not active but present in fragments that get stored in a form in the brain to access later.
This is just a specimen but there are plenty that clearly portray how forgetfulness is a common phenomenon yet can arise from the strangest of situations.