Why Can’t we Remember the Books we Read?

11 Mar 2019


You know you read the book.

You can even remember where you bought it, where you were when you were reading it, and what the cover of the book looked like.

What you can’t remember, though, is the actual book itself.

But, why is that?

This fascinating piece by The Atlantic explains how our brains have a “forgetting curve” when it comes to retaining details about the books we read, movies we watch, or things we see on the internet.

They go on to further explain that while we are able to remember things that are important to our everyday lives, our brains recognize that things like details from books and movies are not things that are vital for us to store in our memory. After all, those are things that we can easily refer back to, if needed, by re-reading the book or re-watching the movie.

While it may appear that things like books, movies, and the internet are dumbing us down by allowing us to store our memories externally, it seems that the internet age has really just caused our brains to re-prioritize the things that we remember. So, instead of trying to remember the details of the book we read 6-months ago, our brains are able to focus on more important things.

Watercooler Writer 
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