Despite decades of research, there is still a lot about the brain we don’t know. Thanks to modern medical imaging we know more about the brain today than we did even just 30 years ago. We know the brain is a calorie hog- it makes up 2% of your body weight but it used 20% of your calories. We know that it is electric, producing enough electricity to power an LED lightbulb. What we still aren’t sure about is why you can walk into a room and forget why you are there.
Memories are broken down into two main categories- short term and long term. You can meet someone once and immediately forget their name, but if you meet them repeatedly eventually you will remember them. How can this be if you always immediately forget their name? Different sensory information is processed in different areas of the brain, so while you may forget a name you might remember a face or a funny tie, and eventually all those memories get tied together.
There are certain techniques for learning names that are based on visual association. For example, if you meet someone named Adam, think Adam’s apple and picture an apple on his head. This will help use more parts of your brain in conjunction with each other, eventually causing you to remember Adam’s name without having to be reminded numerous times.
Unfortunately brain hacking can be used nefariously. Gaslighting is the act of making a person doubt their own memories, and even sometimes implanting new ones. In this form of psychological abuse an abuser causes a victim to doubt memories and interpretations of events by repeatedly saying it never happened or no one else remembers it that way. Eventually the abuse victim starts to doubt their sanity and new memories can be implanted. Eventually the implanted memories can seem more real than the real ones.
Memory is essential to who you are and how you live your life. It isn’t centered in one part of the brain, but rather stitches together functionality from various parts of the brain. Your memory is a crucial part of who you are, and you wouldn’t be able to read, write, or drive a car without your memory. Learn more about how your brain works and how it can be used against you from this infographic. You might be surprised how easy it is for someone to hack your brain!