Fact about Memory
Fact about Memory

24 Unforgettable Memory Facts

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published March 13, 2023
  • A human's attention span is about 20 minutes. In the past decade, average attention spans have decreased by 12 minutes due to technology and fast-paced lifestyles.[5]
  • An adult human's short-term memory can hold seven pieces of information at the same time, but only for about 20 seconds.[1]
  • Left-handed people tend to have better memories than right-handed people.[7]
  • About 60% of an older adult's memories are when the person was between the ages of 15-25.[1]
  • Scientists have found that beta-blocker medications can block and even erase negative memories.[8]
  • Memory Facts and Trivia
    Just another reason dolphins are amazing
  • Dolphins have the longest memories in the animal kingdom, next to humans. Bottlenose dolphins can remember whistles of other dolphins, even after 20 years of separation.[4]
  • Alcohol disrupts the ability to form new long-term memories. Heavy alcohol use can also lead to permanent memory loss or dementia.[1]
  • Learning new things actually changes brain structure. MRI scans show an increase of blood flow and permanent changes in grey and white matter.[1]
  • In 1985, English musician Clive Wearing suffered a brain infection that rendered him unable to form new memories. It also destroyed most of his old memories. He has a memory span of only seconds.[10]
  • Musicians have a higher verbal working memory, especially if they speak a tonal language such as Chinese.[6]
  • Scientists consider smell to be the strongest and fastest memory inducer. Smell bypasses the thalamus and goes directly to the olfactory bulb, which is connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, the primary memory-making parts of the brain.[1]
  • Memory is the mother of all wisdom.

    - Aeschylus

  • Hyperthymesia is the ability to remember almost every event of a person's life with nearly perfect precision. As of 2021, only 61 people worldwide have been diagnosed with hyperthymesia.[1]
  • Music can trigger vivid memories in those who suffer from dementia.[1]
  • Sometimes a memory will lie dormant for decades and then suddenly reappear. This is called "involuntary autobiographical memory."[3]
  • Language, especially branching and word order, affects working memory capacity, such as processing, storing, and retrieving information.[2]
  • Autobiographical memories are memories of significant personal experiences and events that form a person's life.[1]
  • Memory Identity Facts
    Memories make us who we are

  • Because ancient stories, such as Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey, were not written, they were passed down using mnemonic poetic devices, such as alliteration, rhyme, and chiasmus.[1]
  • In a phenomenon called language-dependent memory, a childhood memory is more likely to be remembered when a childhood language is being spoken.[2]
  • Doorway Effect Fact
    Have you ever experienced the doorway effect?
  • The “doorway effect” is a psychological event where a person forgets something as soon as they enter a room. Scientists believe the effect is real, but only when our brains are busy.[9]
  • The death of the character Bing Bong in Disney’s popular animation Inside Out represents "childhood amnesia," which is a normal part of brain development.[1]
  • Between 60–80% of the general population experiences déjà vu. While déjà vu is fairly common, scientists haven't singled out a primary cause. Theories include 1) split-perception, when someone sees something twice; 2) minor brain glitch; and 3) memory recall.[11]
  • When bilingual people hear reprimands or "bad" words in their native language, they exhibit heightened stress responses. In contrast, negative words in a foreign language don't have such a personal effect.[2]
  • "Gaslighting" is a form of mental abuse in which someone tampers with another person’s memory.[12]
  • Children don’t remember consistently until about the age of 4, when language skills and the hippocampus are more mature.[1]
  • Unforgettable Memory Facts INFOGRAPHIC
    Amazing Memory Infographic

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