Memory is one of mental functions and types of mental activity, intended to preserve, store, and reproduce information. Let’s look at some of the most interesting facts about human memory.
Thanks to memory, we use our own experience and that of previous generations in everyday life. Is it possible to somehow improve it? What does it depend on? Let’s try to answer these questions.
4 of the Most Interesting Facts about Human Memory
1. Short-term and long-term memory
Memory has two components – short-term, or operational, and long-term. Students manage to “load” in their memory a lot of information that vanishes just after the exam.
Patients suffering from age-related memory loss remember in detail events that occurred in early childhood or many years ago but are unable to keep in mind what happened half an hour ago.
2. Exceptional memory
The possibilities of memory are limitless. It is believed that an adult can remember from twenty to one hundred thousand words. Some people have an exceptional memory. Alexander the Great is believed to be able to remember the names of all his soldiers.
Mozart was able to play and write down a melody he heard once. After listening to the “Miserere” Allegri (in 9 parts), he managed to write down by memory the whole score of this musical composition, kept in secret by the Vatican. After the second audition, Mozart found a few wrong notes in his notes.
An Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini possessed the same musical memory and remembered every note out of 400 scores. Winston Churchill knew almost all the works of Shakespeare by heart. Dominic O’Brien, a British mnemonist and an author of memory-related books, was able to remember the card location of the whole pack in 38 seconds.
Bill Gates remembers hundreds of codes of the programming language designed by him.
3. The human brain starts remembering from the womb
According to scientists, the memory of the human fetus begins to work 20 weeks after conception. Now, this is among the most interesting facts about human memory.
During tests, an acoustic signal was sent through the mother’s abdomen, and then an ultrasonic scanner was used to examine the reaction of the fetus. It was found that the fetus responds to the sound, slightly moving its body or legs.
When sending a signal 10 minutes or even a day later, the fetus was able to easily recognize the familiar sound. Some scientists believe that theoretically, a person can remember what was happening to them in the womb.
4. Memory is individual
Memory is influenced by many factors. Some people better remember what they saw, others – what they heard. These are the phenomena of visual and auditory memory.
It’s a well-known fact that feelings play an important role in remembering things. In a state of emotional splash memory sometimes can calls things, forgotten a long time ago.
Motivation is very important too. If a person who considers themselves totally incapable of learning languages is in a stressful situation in a foreign country, they may easily learn the language.
In many ways, the ability to memorize depends on learning skills. British scientists used a special scanner to examine the frontal lobe of the brain (which gives us information about the body’s position in space) of taxi drivers and people of other professions.
It was found out that taxi drivers had it much more developed. In fact, the better a driver knows the city and the shorter way he can find to travel from one location to another, the bigger is the size of the frontal lobe of his brain. The gray matter volume doesn’t change, it is just distributed differently.
As you can see from the above facts about human memory, the possibilities of our brains are truly remarkable.