Remembering… (for no reason at all)

Recalling the names of old classmates 50 years after graduation or of favorite childhood television series illustrates the amazing abilities of human memory. Emotion and repeated exposure are both known to play a role in long-term memorization, but why do we remember things that are not emotionally charged and have only been seen or experienced a few times in the past? To answer this question, scientists decided to challenge the memory of individuals they had tested in the laboratory a decade previously. They discovered that participants recognized images seen for only a few seconds ten years earlier.

Under these experimental conditions, it seems that three exposures are sufficient to memorize an image for 10 years. Although scientists have known for several years that memories can be retained implicitly – that is, without being able to consciously access them – this new study shows that they can directly influence participants’ choices and may sometimes even provoke a strong feeling of familiarity.

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The researchers are now seeking to elucidate the biological basis for this memorization. They hypothesize that such memories rely on a small group of ultra-specialized neurons rather than a wide and diffuse neuronal network. (1)

Wandering how we can recall everything.

Searching how we can store memories.

And yet…

Who said that we forget?

Who said that we lose memories?

Nothing is lost. Even the slightest detail. The jasmine which you smelled in your parents’ house. The stars you saw when sleeping outdoors near the sea. The touch of your grandmother while putting you to bed. Those Christmas lights… These songs of Easter… The laughters… The…

You do not remember them.

Because they are part of you now…

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