When we gather with family and friends at this time of year we often share memories of Christmas’s past. Have you ever wondered why they remember it so differently from your own memory?
There are three basic ways to implant memory and having an experience is the easiest way to implant a memory; it is also the most unreliable way to remember something. An experience gives us many prompts for memory. Experiences evoke emotion as well as carry other memory engrams. Fortunately, the emotion creates a pathway in our brain to follow when recalling the event. Unfortunately, it is emotion which causes memory to be unreliable. Not only is a memory impacted by the emotion evoked when the memory was implanted, but it is also affected by the emotion of the person while recalling the event.
For example, your brother is talking about his first Christmas as a new husband, your mother gave him all sorts of cute kitchen gadgets instead of the new phone he was hoping for. He may have felt disappointed, amused, or frustrated when the presents were opened. When he recalls it, he reflects that mood, plus the emotion he feels when recalling it. If he is happily married and his wife loves those silly little items, he may tell the story with much affection and amusement. If he on the other hand he had an ugly divorce, his memory may remember it as a terrible mess.
Here is a tip to remember: shared experiences are individually interpreted and subject to change. So don’t haggle over the details, just enjoy the variety.
Five Holiday Brain Friendly Tips:
· Keep your normal sleep routine to ensure maximum rest & recovery
· Keep physically active for healthy balance
· Remember social interaction is stimulating to the brain
· Drink two ounces of water for every ounce of alcohol
· Traditions provide a sense of peace and calm
What are some of your favorite Christmas memories? Are there any you remember differently than your family or friends do?