There is this place that me and my family would always go to when I was younger, to swim, have picnics, and watch the sun sets. This place is beautiful no matter what season, and i still love to go there. Since I’m an anonymous blogger the details wont be that exact, but I’ll make it the best story I can.
Where I live, we have this place we call the breakers. This is what the breakers looks like:
There is this one time out there that I can remember crystal clear, like it was yesterday, even though I was probably only like 6 or 7 years old. Me and my family went out to the breakers to go swimming, and this was a time when I was really into gymnastics. I was the most comfortable when I was in my gymnastics unitard. So, I wore something like this when we went swimming:
I had a blast swimming, even though this time non of my friends could come. I our way walking back on the rocks, I stayed pretty far behind my parents. There was a group of about 8 or 9, 20 year olds hanging out near the end of the rocks. My parents were way ahead of me, so I made my way around this group as slowly as I could. But they noticed me. The young girl by herself in a gymnastics unitard.
You know what this group did? They made fun of me. A 6 (or 7) year old.
“You think your hot shit little girl don’t you?”
“Look at the little freak.”
“Seriously, what is she wearing?”
I couldn’t believe that this “old” kids were saying this stuff to me. I did know what to do, so I ran. By the time I got to my parents I was crying my eyes out.
My parents went back and said something to those kids, but I never asked what came of it. I only remember that I dropped out of Gymnastics not too long after (one of my biggest mistakes).
The whole point of this writing, is because I was interested in knowing why we can remember bad memories over the good ones. I mean I’m in my 20’s now, so why can I remember this so clear?
This is what I found on Live science, an article called “Bad Memories Stick Better Than Good”.
Research shows that we remember bad memories over the good memories because our emotions influence how we process our memories. This article states that when we recall significant emotional events, like say a wedding, were normally really confident in our recall of the details of the event. Details with confidence are normally not correct according to review of research of emotional memories.
Memories are prone to distort after time, but research has shown that emotional memories are more resistant to the decay processes vs. other memories with time. Research then also shows that negative memories may edge out the positive memories.
“It really does matter whether [an event is] positive or negative in that most of the time, if not all of the time, negative events tend to be remembered in a more accurate fashion than positive events,” Kensinger said.
We might not remember more total details about the negative event, but the details we remember about the negative event are more likely to be more accurate. For example if you are being mugged you might remember the gun being pointed at you with high detail because this caused you fear. But you might not remember the other detail, like the details of the street you were on, or the clothes the assailant was wearing. The reason for this could be rooted in the way our brains are wired.
Our brains have a specific memory network that kicks into gear when we are trying to remember something.
So, then with positive memories, like the wedding, the brain normally wont remember one specific detail, your going to kinda remember everything.
The focusing of the memory network during fear inducing events, can make sense in an evolutionary standpoint. Your attention is focused on the details that are most likely going to enhance your survival if you were to encounter the situation again. So, like with the gun, you know what the gun looks like, where it is pointed, and whether the assailant is likely to use it.
“Those sorts of details are critical,” Kensinger said. “Whether or not the person is wearing a baseball cap, whether the person is short or tall—those sorts of details, in the immediate kind of survival instinct mode, probably are completely irrelevant.”
This article has just pushed me even more in to wanting to capture all the happy moments in my life with photographs, so I will be able to remember more.
(maybe remember even more that all the negative crap in my life)