Strong memories are just emotions set to mental pictures.

It’s funny how we tend to remember bad things better than the nice things that have happened in our past. I mean why remember a car wreck over your first kiss? Why remember your first fight over your first A in school? The truth is we have little to no control over our long term memories. Most long term memories are a defense mechanism to help us survive in life. Unless we feel emotionally unstable during the memory, it’s very hard to naturally keep that memory long term. This is not short term memories of course, and things can be programmed if thought over and over. The deep thoughts though, the ones that last a life time, will almost always have some sort of intense emotional connection.

Another example for this is the Pavlovian theory that dogs can do things based on a trigger. The truth is it’s not the trigger that they remember, it’s the emotional connection to the treat or reward they get that they respond to. The excitement of receiving something they love. Keep in mind dogs have deeper emotions than most humans thanks to our love of them over the last 10,000 years.

The issue with emotions deciding our long term memories is as we get older things do not effect (or move) us as much as they did when we where younger.

We become somewhat desensitized by everyday life and the turmoils that require resilience. We lower our emotional connection so we can better cope with a negative outcome. As children we rarely have this filter.

Another example is the Ice Cream truck, as a kid we would get butterflies when we hear it, obviously it’s not the music we are excited about, it’s the ICE CREAM. (Hopefully it’s organic with almond milk)

You have to ask does our ability to memorize actually deteriorate or does our ability to allow unstable emotions simple fade off. We learn inevitably to handle our emotions and US society actually looks down on people that lack total self control.


We know the brain is like a muscle and will build new neurons and connections between the neurons if you challenge it and take care of it’s health (like drinking water and avoiding poisons). We know your memory doesn’t substantially lose it’s ability unless you do heavy drugs, have a concussion, or a stroke or in some cases have something worse happen. So assuming you don’t do heavy drugs or had a serious brain illness then your memory may just simply lack the emotion stimulation it needs to trigger new strong memories. It’s a common Myth that children have better memories, in fact a healthy adult brain has more neurons and receptive triggers. The obvious truth with this Myth is that children just have stronger emotions and get excited easy!

So… to sum up this gibberish.

a. When training your dog keep in mind the reward, more than the trigger.

b. When your having a special time, you should not harness feeling too much, you might seem a little sappy but the memory you will keep is worth a little awkwardness.

c. Try to rely less on tools to help you remember, try to test yourself by learning and absorbing new information as much as possible.

d. Start a blog at lol 😉 I learned a ton about the brain, researching for this post. Now I will always know a little more about how my brain works!


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