Is it normal to forget things easily?

Why do we forget things?


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Why do we forget things?

Just heard and forgotten again. At home we learned how to do arithmetic, and when we do our homework we sit there and no longer know how to do it. Why is that? Stefan from Saulndorf-Boll would like to know that.

The memory is our memory store, which consists of several parts and is distributed over the entire brain. A network of nerves establishes the connections with each other. In one part we collect our knowledge and store it in a long-term memory. It is only useful to us if we can fall back on this knowledge in a certain situation. Sequences of numbers such as telephone numbers or poems, the alphabet, things that we repeat very often and remember intensely, end up in long-term memory.

In order for this to work, information about the short-term memory, so to speak a buffer, which is also called working memory, must have run. The short-term memory holds impressions for a maximum of one to two hours. These impressions will be forgotten again if you don't remember them again and again and repeat them. That is why learning mainly consists of repeating, because this is the best way to memorize things and not forget them again.

For example, when we learn a language, we store the grammar and vocabulary in long-term memory. To speak, we activate this knowledge in working memory.

Third, there is ultra-short-term memory, which only holds impressions for a few seconds.

In everyday life it is quite normal to quickly forget unimportant things. This forgetting is a protection of the brain against overload. Man is constantly inundated with stimuli. The brain has to decide in a fraction of a second whether any of this information is "important" or "unimportant". Nobody can constantly absorb and store all stimuli and information in their brain. So this forgetting is quite normal.

There is the scientific theory that new impressions overlay old memory traces and thus make it difficult to access old memories. That is, we simply forget some events or things because they are overlaid by things that are more interesting to us. The old memories are fading.

There is also another reason for forgetfulness in everyday life: our way of life. The less calm a person has and the higher the stress he is exposed to, the higher the forgetfulness. Those who constantly have to take in and store too many impressions are more prone to forgetting some of them.

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