The other day I had a bit of a crisis, I was worried that I was starting to have trouble with my memory. Something had to be wrong! I started to notice (increasingly!) my inability to recall trivial things; for example, the action points from a Zoom call, or a quote from a book that I had read a couple of months ago. Surely this can’t be normal?
Before calling the doctor’s office I did what any decent hypochondriac would do, and started googling. After clicking through a few pages, I began to feel a bit better. It was normal. Short term (or working) memory is inefficient, and unless I revisit the thing I’m trying to remember a few times, I’m most likely going to forget it. And no, it’s not a side effect of turning thirty. Phew.
It’s a “feature, not a bug” of how our memory systems are designed.
Our memory is made up of not one, nor two, but three components: 1) a sensory register, 2) working memory, and 3) long-term memory.