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Why do we forget?


Imagine that your short-term brain is a small box. It can fit about seven memories, or maybe seven pretend cats, for approximately 20 to 30 seconds. After that, it's time to empty the short-term box into a larger one for storage. We'll call this larger box your long-term memory. Not every memory – or cat! – will be herded into this bigger box. For example, watch this fun video of cats versus boxes. After you watch it, how many details can you remember? Will you remember in a week? A month?

We forget things because our brain doesn't transfer every detail from our short-term to our long-term memory. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. A part of the brain called the hippocampus plays a key role in the transfer of memories. Some scientists believe that we can store lots and lots of memories in our cerebral cortex or grey matter (yes, it actually looks greyish). But the trouble is remembering them at the right moment!

Giving your fantastic, elastic brain a workout with fun puzzles or challenges can help you remember things more easily. You might forget an answer on a test, but that doesn't mean it wasn't important or that your brain is flawed. It's normal to forget things, so don't feel defeated.

Now what were we talking about again?

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