Pat asked in Social SciencePsychology · 9 years ago

Why do I remember something when I go back to the place where I thought of it?

This happens to me a lot. Sometimes I think of something that I'm going to do, or watch, or talk about, and I go to do it, but I get distracted and forget what I was going to do. So to recover the memory, I walk back to the room or area where I first thought of it and suddenly I remember it perfectly. Why does this happen?

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  • 9 years ago
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    Psychologists tend to think that your brain receives related groups of information (schemas) at once.

    They actually tested this by giving a list of words to subjects. These lists tend to all have the same theme. For example, they'll give a list of 10 words all related to the word "window," but window isn't actually one of the words. Subjects tended to give the word "window" when trying to recall the items from the list. This suggests that when you are thinking of one concept, your brain tends to recall other things related to it.

    While this is fascinating, it's only about words. They've generalized thinking about schemas to other broader topics aside from straight word recollection. In your example, your brain will have encoded all of the data from the room. Sometimes, you can step in the room and remember events, smells, etc. just from going in there, because your brain is recalling the whole group of information (schema) for that room.

    Funny example: If you wear bright neon green shoes studying for a test and you wear them for the actual test, you have a higher chance of remembering some information you studied.

    This is all from learning in psych class a few years ago, so look up schemas, encoding, recall, etc.

    Source(s): Psychology class--human learning and cognition
  • 9 years ago

    Conditions are the same, therefore triggering the dormant memory. Same reason hypnotism works (usually).

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