Adult Memory: Bad or Just Full?


This Wired piece supports a thought that I’ve had for sometime about the failing of memory with age.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there is some degree of failure as we age, but I think the reason people in their 30’s and 40’s who have busy lives have bad memories may be more a function of how much crap they have on their plate than their memory simply not being as good as it was 10 years ago.

My thing is that as a child there’s not much to remember, and as such the little things process easily and quickly. As an adult — especially in a field like IT or the medical profession — there are countless things to keep in your head at all times. It’s downright crowded up there.

So, my feeling is that things are given priorities somehow; things that are deemed trivial get very little resources so that the “important” things can remain intact. So when the stressed out IT person freaks out at not being able to remember the name of a cereal they used to eat, the first thing that comes to mind is, “I would have been able to remember that easily 5 years ago…”

Well, my thing is that it’s quite likely that the life of said person was likely quite a bit less complex back then. Perhaps this is the reason for poor memory through the 30s and 40s?

Related posts: