How come certain everyday things just don’t get stuck in the memory?



For example North, East, South, West for me. I have to think for a solid 10 seconds to remember where exactly each of them points (up, right, down, left) no matter how many times i actually use it.
I have the same trouble with music notes. I know where they are and what note makes what noise on the piano but i need a long time to actually recall that memory. Much longer than most other things. Is it just not enough focused practice to get those things stuck in the brain?

In: Biology

Have you tried using mnemonics?

Never eat shredded wheat?

It really is just practice at remembering. Memories aren’t called neural pathways for no reason. There a processes in the brain that weaken/disconnect pathways that aren’t regularly used as well as processes to strengthen those that get regular action.

For a metaphor, think of your mind as a big area of land that doesn’t have any roads through it when you’re born. As you learn things, it’s like walking between different spots. At first, there’s hardly more than foot prints between the two, but as you keep remembering the information the path gets more worn into the soil. For really solid, deeply ingrained memories, like your parents faces, the path can get paved almost permanently. (But even paved paths can degrade, like if your parents pass away and you don’t have many pictures of them/don’t look at the pictures, you can start to forget what they looked like.) Mnemonics are like maps you leave for yourself and usually have something that makes them more memorable, like a colorful flag in our metaphorical field. For example, you can use the sentence “Never electrocute somebody’s wife” to help you remember the order of directions clockwise around the compass. The sentence can be easier to remember because it’s silly and our brains are better at remembering things that have a structure we’re already familiar with, in this case how English sentences work. Eventually you don’t need the map and can skip the stop in the middle.

There are a whole lot of variables that go into memory. What you’re describing is a retrieval error from the long term memory. What you might want to do is use organizational tools like mnemonics, hierarchies, etc. These can make things easier to remember.