Almost every day I listen to BBC’s podcasts and one of the programs I listen to is called “The Why Factor,” which look into the “whys” of people’s action and the history of these actions and of objects. The Why Factor’s most recent episode is “Why do we forget the things we’ve learned?” and I thought I would share some things I learned.
One topic discussed in the episode is the things we do in the present that negatively affect our ability to remember things. According to a lecturer at the University of Melbourne interviewed in the episode, one of these things is bingeing, which is like cramming.
He said, “Let’s say you watched 10 hours of a show a day. You crammed 10 hours of all brand new information straight into your head, so what you have now is you have this issue, which we call consolidation. Whatever you learn new during the day, you have to somehow tie those memories down into your brain; link them to something and get them to stick in there. And that process of consolidation usually happens when you’re asleep.”
“So if you get 10 hours of new information in a day, but you only sleep 8 hours that night, you simply don’t have enough time to lay down all that new information. So it fades incredibly quickly to the point where if you binge-watched, say 10 episodes today, you could expect to remember 2 of those episodes in three days. It’s the same with any kind of information that’s coming in – music we hear, books we read, people we meet. It’s just too much information. If you binge it, without enough time to consolidate and repeat, it’s just gonna go away.”