Sometimes we’re trying really hard to learn something but we simply can’t. Our memory doesn’t want to obey us. However, sometimes we can memorise even unnecessary details. What is the reason for remembering the detailed picture of some events and forgetting about others?
Many factors influence the memory and the durability of collected information. First of all and the most needed is vigilance. That’s a state in which our brain is ready to acquire some news. In fact, concentration is also crucial. Some concentration disorders can prevent the news from reaching the long – term memory, practically stopping the process of memorising. That’s why school lessons are not longer than 45 minutes – the scientists found out that our level of concentration lowers dramatically after about 30 minutes and further attempts to learn anything remain pointless.
The next deciding thing is whether we are interested in this particular topic we’re learning or not. When we meet somebody who is bored by his discipline, it’s certain that he suffers from the lack of motivation to do any research – however, he can spout the list of all the results achieved by his favourite team in the last season.
Emotional state of a person has also a great importance in the process of learning. The memories of some moving situations remain vivid and precise, mainly because of the presence of neurotransmitters produced by our body, like norepinephrine. Thanks to these substances we can still remember the day of our first important exam!
Last but not least, the context plays an important role in the process of memorising. Human memory is highly contextual. The setting and the situation in which the action takes place, build a background which makes us recall the memories more easily. The colour of a book in which we found a certain phrase, it’s localisation on a page or maybe some pictures? All these things may facilitate the process of learning and remembering.
Many elements influence our mental abilities, our memory among others. Natural predispositions of a brain, external factors and our motivation are only few of them. We should be conscious of the ways in which the memories are born, in order to become more active and effective in the process of learning. According to Alain Berthoz: ‘The aim of memory is not to make us remember the past, but rather to allow us to predict the future’.