Why do we remember some things and not others?


You vividly remember the time you slipped on snow 8 years ago, but on your first day at work, you forgot about it. Why do we retain some information as memories and not others? Scientists have discovered a new criterion that affects this process and calls it “predictive value”. Journal of Neuroscience. Information that makes it possible to better anticipate future events is stored preferentially.

Our memory is limited

Because (long-term) memory has limited capacity and resources, memory systems must prioritize the information to be encoded.”, researchers from Yale University (USA) explain. Since 2017, science has identified a number of factors that can play a role in the precious mental space that stores our memories. These known criteria include attention, emotion, motivation, stress, and sleep. “Here we test a new factor that regulates the formation of long-term memory: predictive value”. Researchers report.

This is because long-term memory is used not only to remember the past but also to make predictions that help us behave appropriately and effectively in the face of a new experience.

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