So you think you are supposed to know the advice to give to a friend who is finally going to college. You have been there and done that, but you cannot quite place a finger on how you actually pulled it off. It is the same way you may not remember the title of this article unless you look it up. If you’ve found yourself on an endless run of forgetting your lunch, leaving your rent check on the kitchen table, and forgetting that you’re getting married this Sunday, it will be easy to assume the worst. But here are likely reasons and also why you shouldn’t panic. Stress Everyone goes through it, everyone comes out of it. So there is no big reason for you to be so worried just yet. It has a reputation as a ruiner of memories, but stress can often impact focus and attention more than making you lose some memory. It can reduce your ability to recall new information, because your mind will be mostly distracted with other concerns and thoughts. This makes you less focused on the issue/item you then later lose hold of. This is usually an issue if focus, but it feels like a memory problem when you actually experience it. When your mind is otherwise preoccupied and maybe overwhelmed with stress-related issues, the information you receive will not be stored in your memory. And when you are not able to recall it later, you might need someone to jog it up for you or it otherwise remains permanent. Retrieval Failure There are times when you just feel like a piece of info has just vanished from your memory. Perhaps you know it is supposed to be there, but it seems impossible to find. When you are unable to retrieve this information, it could mean you have actually forgotten. A possible explanation for the retrieval failure is most commonly known as the decay theory. No, do not panic; it is not as bad as it sounds. According to the theory, a memory trace is created every time a new information is found. It suggests that as time goes on, these memory traces begin to fade, much time after which they eventually disappear. Should you not retrieve this info from time to time and rehearse it, it will eventually become lost. However, some research shows that unrehearsed or unrecalled memories can remain stable in a long-term. Motivated Yet Unconscious Forgetting It may sound strange, but someone you may actually unconsciously motivate yourself to erase some information from your memory box. This is mostly the case for hurtful, traumatic and disturbing information that could be a threat to your peace of mind and happiness. Because they can be upsetting and anxiety-provoking, there are times we may desire to delete them. You can do this either through suppression—consciously forgetting— or repression, the unconscious counterpart. Nevertheless, the concept of repressed memories is not something all psychologists accept. One problem is that it is difficult—if not impossible—to scientifically study if a memory has been pushed under or not.
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