13. Do you tend to recall the good or bad times more?
Okay, for me this is a redundant question, because I know that scientifically we remember bad times better than good times. Even personally thinking back in my past, I have a whole handful of bad memories that just swarm into mind in comparison to the good memories. And that’s probably why yesterday’s challenge was so difficult to recall – the happiest childhood memory.
Well, how do these memories get stored and how are they incredibly memorable? I learnt last year there is a term for storing memories and it’s called hot cognition; an individual stores events from their lives into their long term memory through emotions and experiences. Let’s say for instance that you were bullied and the bully punched you, that negative experience will be stored into your long term memory because the anger, fear and humiliation that you experienced during that time were strong enough emotions for recall later.
I know I recall bad times more than the good – and some may say it is a bad thing. But, in the Darwinian evolutionary sense, it really is not. If anything, it is makes logical sense that for any form of problem solving in the future, it is essential for an individual to recall the bad experiences. In the future, if you are placed in a similar situation as mentioned above, with an intimidating foe, your brain will trigger such a memory and your decision of whether to fight or flee will be dependent on such a knowledge. Sometimes it just becomes intuitive. Bad memories prevent us from making similar mistakes in the future. Otherwise we’d be getting metaphorically “punched”. A lot.
Of course, it should also be considered that too much of the bad doesn’t do good to the individual either. Especially, when it begins to cloud judgement and force others to back away into a corner and avoid any form of experiential learning either. This is when individuals usually require guidance, to remember more of the good and use these good memories to counter the bad.
But, enough of this psychology babble, the conclusion is that I – along with, I’m assuming, a majority of mankind – has the tendency to be able to recall bad times more easily than the good. But this is not necessarily a bad thing. If you want to read more about it, there’s a NYTimes article called “Praise is Fleeting, but Brickbats We Recall”. Besides that, do check out Rhey of Sunshine’s blog for her take on this question.
Till next time,