The Purpose of Memory Is to Help People Function Well.
Memory is a cognitive tool, not for biased recollections of the past.
Apr 30, 2021
Depending on if we are born optimist or pessimist, our memory is always biased. We might have rose-tinted memories of some happier times, and highlight only the bad bits on the more stressful times.
One proof of this is how we feel after exams. Some people tend to walk out of exams thinking they have failed them because they focused on not knowing how to do a fraction of the questions; whilst some people will walk out feeling good about the exams, only remembering the few questions they knew how to do. The outcome of our exams is usually quite different from what we perceive it went.
Memory is not for defining our past but a cognitive function for survival. One typical example is that we learn from our mistake, remembering what to avoid, in order to successfully complete a task, or avoid danger, going forward. For example, we don't need to relearn that fire can injure us every time we get near it.
Knowing this is the actual function of memory, we should remember with a pinch of salt, and not overly attribute our emotions to what we remember.
From a childhood trauma perspective, the author's personal experience is that she always thought she had a neglective father. This is because all she could remember was him working too hard during her childhood. But in reality, as the author's mum recalled, he has always tried to spend as much time he could whenever he was off work.
Memory's cognitive function
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