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Posted: September 18th, 2023
Explain why you specifically chose this topic over the others.
Approach this assignment with the intention of being challenged.
Evaluate your personal reaction to key concepts/theories learned in this topic.
Share how the topic may be related to your personal life and/or present or future career.
What did you learn from this topic’s CREATE assignment? The content includes an insightful, unique, and cogent self-reflection on the rationale for topic selection, discussion of any biases toward a certain perspective related to the topic, and consideration of how the topic may be related to the student’s personal life and/or present or future career.
I chose to focus my article on this topic of why it is so hard to remember things right now because of its relevance in understanding our current experiences and improving cognitive function.
Let me begin by framing the challenges of memory in the modern age through an overview of the key factors that can impair our ability to recall information. In the video “Why Is It So Hard to Remember Things Right Now?” cognitive neuroscientist Michael Posner discusses how constant digital stimulation has altered our brains in ways that make concentration and deep thinking more difficult (Posner, 2022). As we are inundated with an overwhelming flood of data through smartphones, social media, and other technologies, our brains have adapted to skim information rather than engage deeply. This reduces our capacity for reflection and consolidation of memories.
Posner also notes how stress and lack of sleep further impair memory (Posner, 2022). Chronic stress floods our bodies with cortisol which disrupts memory formation and retrieval. Similarly, sleep deprivation hinders our brain’s ability to consolidate and store memories from the day. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced additional stressors and disrupted sleep patterns for many. All of these modern demands on our cognitive resources help explain why basic recall feels so taxing at times.
Another factor is our reliance on devices rather than mental skills to store information. In “Learning Mnemonics: Can You Really Hack Your Memory?” cognitive psychologist Daniela Aguilar discusses how using memory techniques like the method of loci, where you mentally place items in a familiar spatial layout, can boost recall compared to passive reading or note-taking (Aguilar, 2017). By outsourcing memory to smartphones rather than strengthening internal memory networks, we have weakened our natural memory abilities. However, Aguilar’s research demonstrates how we can cognitively “retrain” our brains and enhance memory through strategic study techniques (Aguilar, 2017).
Our memories are also fallible reconstructive processes rather than perfect recordings, as the video “Your Most Vivid Memories Aren’t As Accurate As You Think” illustrates. Elizabeth Loftus, a pioneer in the field of human memory, discusses how memory is malleable and can be influenced or even falsely implanted by misinformation (Loftus, 2016). This helps explain why we may struggle with precise recollection at times or remember details differently than others.
In summary, constant digital stimulation, stress, sleep deprivation, reliance on external memory aids rather than internal skills, and the reconstructive nature of memory all contribute to making basic recall feel taxing in today’s world. However, understanding these cognitive influences provides insight into strategies we can adopt to strengthen concentration, manage stress, protect sleep quality, and use memory-boosting techniques. This knowledge helps empower us to better navigate the memory challenges of modern life.
Aguilar, D. (2017, February 7). Learning Mnemonics: Can You Really Hack Your Memory? YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoSqNd1TE4A
Loftus, E. (2016, May 18). Your Most Vivid Memories Aren’t As Accurate As You Think. YouTube. https://youtu.be/3kE1M-MfXxc
Posner, M. (2022, May 11). Why Is It So Hard to Remember Things Right Now? YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULdW78vnRQs
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