Memory: How the brain spins your life story

时间:2019-03-01 07:14:13166网络整理admin

By Kirsten Weir Read more: “The ultimate guide to memory“ GRADUATION day. The first concert you attended. Your first kiss. These personal recollections stand apart from memories of shopping lists or the world’s capital cities. Autobiographical memories define us; they are who we are. Yet they are far from complete, with some periods of our lives producing heaps of recollections while others receive relatively patchy coverage. What forces lead us to remember one event but forget another? Until recently, the subject had largely been a black box to researchers, but they have now begun to make huge strides towards an understanding of the way our minds write our life story. Our brains certainly start remembering at a young age, learning simple associations before we are born. One small study even found that newborns tend to stop crying when they hear the theme tune of a TV show their mother often watched while pregnant, perhaps because it reminds them of the comfort of the womb. But we cannot consciously remember specific events from before the age of 2 or 3, when our autobiographical memory begins to develop. Even then, we are hard-pressed to remember much from before our sixth birthday. So far, three different factors have emerged that might explain this hazy recall. One possibility is that the neural pathways are not mature enough between the hippocampus – where memories are consolidated – and the rest of the brain, so our experiences from this period may never be cemented into long-term storage. Our burgeoning language skills also play a key role, says Martin Conway at City University London,