What constitutes a “core memory”? – Huff Post | Wonder Mind Kids

“Core memories” are not really a concept in neuroscience or mental health. Instead, the idea was made famous by the Pixar film Inside Out, in which core memories are described as “a super important time in.” [someone’s] life” and a memory that “drives another aspect of [someone’s] Personality.”

In the real world, the idea of ​​core memories remains in the cultural zeitgeist well beyond the movies. Now, TikTok videos of special moments are commonly shared with #corememory, while parents of young children often share what experiences they hope to create as a “core memory” for their child.

When asked why this phrase resonates with people, Anthony Quarles answereda therapist at Quarles Counseling in Virginia Beach, said it was all about nostalgia for the good old days.

“As we grapple with uncertain times, people seem to want to go back to where things felt safer, simpler or easier for them,” he said, adding that life has been tougher lately as we continue to die living through the COVID pandemic.

Additionally, Nicole Dudukovic, director of the neuroscience major at the University of Oregon, said research suggests memories don’t actually contribute much to our personality — people with amnesia don’t experience personality change — but memories “contribute to our sense of identity.” That means that many people see their memories as something that changed them in some way.

Memories are flawed, making them a challenge in neuroscience and mental health.

You may have a good memory, but there is no perfect memory — memories are imprecise, both experts said.

According to Dudukovic “in In the memory world, we don’t really think about certain, special memories that are really formative for people. That’s true for many reasons. A lot of these ‘core memories’ are things that may have happened in childhood, and there’s actually a lot that we don’t remember from our childhood.”

Additionally, memories can change from the time we are children to adults, Dudukovic said. “There’s this idea [that] Every time we remember something, it’s this reconstructive process where our memories actually change… so we change our memories as we remember.”

So the idea that you can easily recall memories from years ago doesn’t fit the science of memory. While these memories give you a picture of your past, you don’t get the whole story.

Stephen Swintek via Getty Images

Moments and events that evoke strong emotional responses are likely to be remembered more frequently than everyday days.

Events associated with strong emotions are more likely to be remembered.

There’s a reason moments of extreme happiness or intense fear can feel burned into your brain. According to Dudukovic, events that evoke an emotional response often become memories.

“There is a lot of evidence that emotional events are more likely to be remembered overall than things [that] are more neutral or less emotional [charged]but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re remembered more accurately,” Dudukovic said.

Quarles added that through the lens of mental health, emotionally driven memories can come back to you when that particular emotion resurfaces. So when you feel extreme excitement ahead of an upcoming party, your mind may return to the last time you felt excitement.

“Core Memories” aren’t always happy.

While the videos tagged core memories on TikTok often feature moments of euphoria, Quarles emphasized that “our core memories aren’t necessarily happy memories.” They can also be sad, scared, or angry.

Additionally, core memories can also be traumatic, which “are long-lasting memories for a lot of people,” Quarles said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that traumatic events “are marked by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or a threat of serious injury or death.” So it can be anything from a car accident to an assault to the sudden loss of a loved one. Signs that your memory is linked to trauma can include nightmares after encountering a trigger or thinking about the event, avoiding activities that remind you of the memory, or having flashbacks of the traumatic experience.

Of course, not all memories associated with a negative emotion are trauma. But if that’s the case, it’s worth seeking professional help. There are many resources available for mental health support, including the Psychology Today database and Therapy for Black Girls.

There are a few steps you can take to create core reminders.

“It’s really hard to predict what you’re going to remember, but there are certain things that … help those memories stay and last longer,” Dudukovic said.

It’s how you process those moments that matters, she said. “Do you think about her often? Do you think [about them] in a deep, meaningful way?”

Deliberately thinking about moments that you hope will become memories — and even rehearsing them in your head — can help make them more likely to become memories, Dudukovic added.

You can also try using recall hints to help you access memories. “The idea is that if you would listen [a] song, while you were on vacation it becomes associated with your vacation memories,” she explained, “and if you listen to that song again later, it serves as a cue that allows you to recall those vacation memories.”

Images can also be used as a cue to recall memories when you take the time to think about the images you’re looking at and the moment they represent, she added.

Having more ways to access memories and connect them to physical things can only help you find them again over time, she said.

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