If you do not use your arms or your legs for some time, they become weak; when you start using them again, they slowly become strong again. Everybody knows this, and nobody would think of questioning this fact. Yet there are many people who do not seem to know that memory works in the same way. Memory is the brain’s ability to keep a record of past events. The brain can record a large amount of information. But some of the information which goes into the brain is forgotten.
Psychologists believe that forgetting does not take place at an even pace. It is rapid at first, then slows down. Thus most things are forgotten in the first hour or day after they are learned, but less is forgotten after a week or so.
There are several ways which help us to remember things for a long time. One of them is overlearning. Overlearning is saying something (a poem for example) over and over again. This makes it stick in the mind.
Some people are said to have a “photographic” memory, an ability to remember, in great detail, objects or scenes they have looked at only briefly.
What we remember and the way we recall it are influenced by our interests, way of thinking, and emotional feelings. In fact, we may lose completely conscious memory of very important events if they are difficult or painful for us. The loss of large areas of memory occurs in some mental and physical illnesses. Psychologists have been searching for the chemical basis of memory in the brain.