– how come we can remember lyrics of songs heard 10, maybe 20 years ago but we forget to remove the tea bag from the cup ?

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– how come we can remember lyrics of songs heard 10, maybe 20 years ago but we forget to remove the tea bag from the cup ?

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You can’t remember most of the songs you’ve heard, but the tiny fraction you remember are exceptions to the rule that you forget almost everything.

One is long term memory, and the other is working memory.

Working memory is flushed unconsciously, meaning you don’t know when it’s being erased and replaced with something new. Whatever you pay attention to dictates the contents of your working memory. As the innkeeper in Bree constantly reminds everyone, “One thing pushes another out”.

You forget to take the teabag out of the tea because other things filled your working memory.

You should set a timer for the tea. Over-brewed tea is nasty.

We use the same word, “forget,” for losing song lyrics as for not removing the tea bag, but the processes are totally different. When you put in the tea bag, you segregate part of your working memory to store the instruction to remove it. Working memory dissipates after about 30 seconds unless you actively refresh it. When you hear a memorable song, it goes into long-term memory, which can last years but only presents itself to you when prompted.

Have you ever had an experience where you forget to remove the tea bag, but then later something reminds you and you remember planning to remove it? What happened there is that the “remove the tea bag” instruction dissipated from working memory but was copied into long-term memory, and something in your life prompted the copy to present itself to you.

ive heard that the greater the emotional response, the better we remember it. might be why we remember songs so well