A team of researchers from the Universities of Glasgow and Birmingham in the United Kingdom researched scientific theories about the information that memory Over time, and what parts are missing. They showed that memories become less dense and detailed over time, and that only the essentials are preserved.
According to research published in the journal nature connections, This is fading With Regards It is improved when people frequently recall recent experiences.
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The work can have implications in several areas, such as the nature of With Regards In PTSD, repeated questioning of eyewitness testimony and even best practices a study of exams.
Although memories are not exact copies of the past, since remembering is understood to be a very rebuilding process, experts have suggested that the content of memory can change each time we recall it.
However, it has so far been difficult to measure the differences between memories and original experiences, as well as their transformation over time in the laboratory.
In this study, the researchers developed a simple computer task that measures how quickly people recall certain features of visual memories when asked to do so.
Participants learned pairs of words and pictures and were subsequently asked to remember different elements of the picture when they were referred to by the word.
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For example, they were asked to indicate, as quickly as possible, whether the image was color or grayscale (perceptual detail), or whether it showed a living or nonliving object (a semantic element).
These tests, which look at the quality of visual memories, were performed immediately after learning and also after a two-day delay. Reaction time patterns showed that participants were faster at remembering semantic and important items than surface and perceptual items.
Julia Livanov, lead author of the study from the University of Birmingham, recalls that “many theories of memory They start from the assumption that over time, when people retell their stories, they tend to forget superficial details, but retain the semantic and meaningful content of the event.”
Imagine that you remember a dinner with a friend before the crisis and realize that you cannot remember the table decoration, but you know exactly what you ordered; Or you remember the conversation with the waiter, but not the color of your shirt. memory. Experts call this phenomenon “signaling”.
Professor Maria Wimber, lead author of the study from the University of Glasgow, explains: “The memory pattern of the important semantic items we showed in this study suggests that memories are biased towards primarily meaningful content, and we showed that in earlier studies, this bias was clearly reversed. in brain signals.
“Our memories change with time and use and this is a good and adaptable thing.
-Add-. We want our memory to hold information that is most likely to be useful in the future when we encounter similar situations.”
The researchers found that the bias toward semantic memory content becomes significantly stronger over time, and with repeated recall.
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When the participants returned to the lab two days later, they were much slower to answer questions with perceptual detail, but showed a relatively preserved memory of the semantic content of the images.
However, the shift from detail-rich to concept-based memories was less evident in a group of people who viewed the images frequently, rather than actively being asked to remind them.
The study has implications for investigating the nature of memories in health and disease. It provides a tool for studying maladaptive changes, for example in PTSD, in which patients often have intrusive traumatic memories and tend to over-generalize these experiences to new situations.
The findings are also relevant to understanding how eyewitness memories are skewed through repeated interviews and repeatedly recalling the same event.
The results also show that testing yourself before an exam (eg, using flashcards) will make useful information last longer, especially when followed by periods of rest and sleep.
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