11 Memory Facts That Prove Your Brain Is Weird
Yes, false memories are a real thing.
1. Walking into a new room actually makes you forget what you went in there for.
2. In fact, just imagining walking through doors can make you forget.
3. Your autobiographical memory is divided into chapters.
Yup, your brain is literally writing the story of your life, chapter by chapter.
In one study on this, 23 people read six stories on a screen and later were given a test to see how much they remembered from the narratives. Christian Jarrett at the British Psychological Society's Research Digest blog explains:
The key finding here was that the participants were poorer at recalling a sentence that came after a temporal boundary. It's as if information within an episode was somehow bound together, whereas a memory divide was placed between information spanning two episodes.
("Temporal boundary" just means the sentence began with something like "A while after that..." to indicate the passing of time.)
4. Closing your eyes can help you remember.
5. False memories are far too easy to plant.
6. You could even "remember" a crime you never even committed.
7. And being sleep-deprived might make you more likely to remember stuff that didn't happen.
8. You will never fill up your brain's memory capacity.
Paul Reber, professor of psychology at Northwestern University, told Scientific American:
Neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain's memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes. … You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.