: How do we forget something easily even if we try to remember it as hard as we can, but the same thing comes to our mind when we are not even thinking about it?


: How do we forget something easily even if we try to remember it as hard as we can, but the same thing comes to our mind when we are not even thinking about it?


Seems to me that you think of a thing in a certain mindset, and then the act of trying to remember it puts you in a different mindset. Then you slip into the original mindset and think of the thing again.

one day I forgot my banking password. I’d been entering it by memory daily on my iPhone for years but then one day I went put it in an I just couldn’t remember it. I moved to keychain after that to store my passwords, I feel like with age the ability to remember little things can slip with some people, but others they get old and remain sharp for details their whole life. some people are better at recall than others so for them what they are looking for will pop in their head easier than others, people with poor recall may never make the connection and will forget it forever. happens all the time, umbrellas left on the train, appointments forgotten about, forget to pay an invoice, forget the colour of your first kiss’s hair.

Not an answer, but a solution: start listing, preferably aloud, aspects, features, categories, etc that describe what you’re trying to remember and you can basically shake loose the memory. Word association games are fun and practical!

Edit: For names, just start saying random names, or names in alphabetical order. I once remembered the name “Jeremy Piven” just by saying “Chris Pines” and “Chris Evans” (I was on C-names). Pine-Evans got me to Piven. Silly brain games.

The memory you are trying to access is hard to find, your brain is like a filing system so if your filing system is not in order (tiredness etc) or you are trying to find a file buried deep somewhere it takes time to find. Your brain runs a search for the memory, the search continues to run even though you aren’t thinking about it, when your brain finds it you will remember.

I once read somewhere, that we don’t remember things themselves, but rather the last time we remembered the thing. Knowing it helps to not forget basic stuff, like “did I lock the house” – I remember it once a few steps from a for and then I remember the last time I remembered it, and it always works

People will say they understand this, how the mind recalls something you are trying to remember.

I know *this*: They did some Medical experiments once, they stuck probes in different places in the brain of volunteers, illiciting vivid memories the subject thought they had forgotten. IOW, every memory is stored by the brain.

Your brain is like a CCTV camera on the wall, it records everything in the range of your senses, every single thing you experience, even while sleeping.

Those are the ‘books’ that will be opened on Judgement Day.

How come we hit every single red light when we are in a hurry but when we want to answer a text or get something out of the glove box there’s suddenly nothing but green lights… it’s perception. You remember most of what you want… and forget most of what you don’t care about. You only notice it when you’re annoyed.

/r/Iamverysmart subscriber here.

Inside your mind, there’s neurons and pathways connecting them.

Let’s think of the neurons as trees; and pathways as pathways in that forest.

Your train of thought is as if you’re looking at a giant redwood tree, taking your time, studying the detail. You decide to wander, glancing at the plants all around. Then you notice a strange tree. It has three trunks that twist and weave into itself in a complex pattern. It’s not very tall though, and quite thin. You’ve never ever seen a tree like this before and immediately think there’s no way you’ll ever forget it. After a moment you continue down another path. A few paces later you want to look at the twisted tree again but when you look around it’s gone. You know it was not very tall but you can’t remember any more detail about it. So you begin running back down the path you came, frantically scanning, hoping to see it, until you are back at the giant redwood. Then you stop. You’re sure that you saw it after the redwood but as you look into the dense forest you feel defeated knowing you’re probably not gonna be able to find it again.

Lucky you , I was teaching some 6th graders about this last week.

So memory has three parts : encoding (putting the memory in your brain), storage (having that memory in a specific area), and retrieval (getting that memory back)

Most memory issues start at the start [encoding] because we aren’t paying ATTENTION. but you aren’t talking about that even though ATTENTION is the most important thing about memory. You want to know even if we pay ATTENTION, why can we still not remember it as well as something we supposedly didn’t pay ATTENTION to.

Well /that/ comes to [storage]. Have you ever made a word map? Where you write a word, circle it, and then connect a few words that are related to that, circle each of those and repeat the process with them? {I.e. (boat)–(water)–(fish)–(bass)–(guitar)} that’s how our brain kinda works . You take a memory and it becomes connected to related things. So if you think of those related things we can get to the memory. {Think trying to remember someone’s name and going: “oh it’s the same name as that girl who fell down that rabbit hole…. ALICE}
Memories are always connected. When we actively try to give it more connections thats called mnemonics. {Making acronyms, initialisms, songs, etc. } The best memories in the world use things like the peg system or the method of loci.

But sometimes the memory is already connected to a bunch of stuff. I remember the number of Pokémon in the first generation without effort because I have loads of memories connected to it {playing with the cards, watching the show, doing the rap, etc.} So really the foundation was already laid.

Alternatively it could just have been very intense and Thus the mind kind of burns it into your mind like a flash bulb.

TL;Dr Usually it’s cause you don’t pay attention but how you store that memory is important too. The more memories you have related to the thing the easier it is to remember it.

Sooooo anxiety is similar to a computer virus? Like it re routes my brain to forget everything and depression is like a critical system error? Anyone have an anti virus program for the brain…. maybe a new os? I feel like my brain may be running windows vista…. any help?

It’s presque vu or tip of the tongue phenomenon. When you’re trying really hard to remember one thing your brain starts to sift through all the information you have stored and blocks them off trying to locate the piece of information you’re looking for. But in doing so it inadvertently blocks out the very thing you’re trying to remember. So after a while, when you’ve stopped thinking about it, it suddenly occurs to you.

I’m a programmer and I saw how real and software neurons works. I’m not a specialist on either ones, but this is what I remember:

Each neuron stores information, and it creates connections with other neurons. Information is stored redundatly. So lets say you forgot the name of apple brand, you want to say it, but you can only say iphone, expensive and electronics. Why does this happens?

Well, lets asume that on each neuron there is information about only one word:

Neuron A: Apple
Neuron B: Iphone
Neuron C: Expensive
Neuron D: Electronic

Now, information on our brain is being moved all the time.(Not sure if ALL THE TIME, but it definitely moves). So now, information that was on Neuron A is no longer there, but don’t worry, there has always been a backup of this on A235 and F192, so you haven’t lost it. As I’ve said before, lost information is stored on several neurons at the same time.
So, whenever your brain whants to find A, he knows he can be reached through B, C and D. Except that at this time, “Apple” is not on Neuron A, or Neuron A died. So you brain is following the path you normally use to reach that information, except that it isn’t there anymore. Its like if you have the google maps gps onto your favorite food truck, but now it has changed locations. You go there, but it is no longer there because it has been moved.
So, you do other stuff and suddenly something happens:
Neuron A is back online
Information is back on neuron A
A new sinapsis is made to relate B-C-D with a backup neuron A235
Other similar stuff in your brain, I’m by no means an specialist.

So now you can either find it agin in the same place or in a new one. The food truck equivalent would be that either the truck comes back to the same place you used to know, or you go around and find it somewhere else and save this to your google map GPS.

I’m unsure if I’ve been clear, and it has been a long time since I studied that.

some of the answers so far do a good job of explaining how memory generally works. unfortunately i don’t think any of them take the next step and successfully answer the OP’s question, which I’m guessing (I’m by no means an expert but psych BA and lifelong follower of cog sci) has to do with conscious vs unconscious recall. it would be great if someone who is an expert could address that part of the question.

Related to this: Why is it that when I have a great idea, I’m convinced there’s no possible way I could forget it? So I don’t write it down and of course I forget it.

Psych major here.

Your mind isn’t organised in the systematic way that we usually organise things, like by clear categories, alphabetically, by size, etc.

It organises itself by association to other things, so the only way to find the memory is to trace the string of associations. When we deliberately try to remember something, we use strategies that we’re used to, but it’s not necessarily the way the brain actually organises it.

But when we go about your day normally, our brain does things by association naturally, and might just remember it. Also, your brain probably will just encounter it by chance and it just seems significant to you only because you tried to retrieve out recently. You probably remember a lot of things you didn’t find significant as well.

Here’s the ELI5:

You’re trying to find a needle in a haystack. You start doing so by systematically inspecting the straws one at a time but you eventually give up because you can’t find the needle.

Later that day, you’re going about your work and you step on the haystack and find the needle in your foot.

If you think about it a lot and can’t forget it, it probably means that you should remember that, not that you make the same mistake.

Because your mind can find things better then your focused connciosness. Mind is all inclusive, connciosness is a singular point.

I think it’s the opposite of deja vu called jamais vu (or presque vu) idk but vsauce made a video explaining it.
Basically the harder you try to remember something your brain will try to focus on a certain things by blocking other information but instead ended up blocking the thing that you actually want to remember. When you stop thinking about it, the brain will stop blocking information and that thing you want to remember will usually come back.

So most of the time if im experiencing this i’d try to distract myself from the thought, which is counter-intuitive but it often works