Why do we struggle to recall some information?


Hopefully the question makes sense but this always hits me when I play trivia. I’ll struggle to come up with a name or place etc of something I know, and have heard or seen hundreds of times. But then there can be a similar type of question that I’ll know the answer right away. Why do our brains recall certain non-important information better?

In: Biology

Similarly, why can I have the answer the first time but then if I’m asked again at a later date struggle to remember it again?

Its about where that information is stored in your brain. Basically, what notion or concepts that pop up in your brain will lead you to the thing you are looking for. Or even better put, what did your brain associate that information you are looking for with. Usually what happens is that you try too hard to find the word and you end up focusing on a single chain of words to find the one you are looking for. Like if you try to find the word “apple” and keep thinking “fruit” and you only manage to come up with “banana”. Your brain simply wired itself so that if you think “fruit”, the first thing that pops in mind is “banana”, so if you just keep repeating “fruit” over and over, not only will you get annoyed that your brain keeps giving you “banana”, but you also stop your brain from going down any other pathway. Meanwhile, if you would have just thought “red”, the word “apple” would have popped up right away, but you are actively forcing your brain to keep thinking “fruit”. It’s also because of this that only later, when you stop locking your brain onto one word, that you maybe see a firetruck, which triggers the word “red” in your mind, which then gives you “apple” and you are like “Oh my God, APPLE. That was the word.”