Why It’s Easier To Remember Emotional Events

When we experience a highly emotional time in our lives — such as a wedding or break-up, childbirth or even major historical events like 9/11 — we tend to remember it for good. But why are eventful times more vividly recalled than the less notable days, weeks and months that slip from our minds?

A robust body of previous research has shown that the more emotional impact a memory has — either positive or negative — the more vividly we will recall its details and the more likely it will be stored in long-term memory.

“Just a tiny bit of emotional arousal will influence whether you remember something just a few minutes later,” memory researcher Dr. James McGaugh told the American Psychological Association.

But new research from New York University, published in the journal Nature, demonstrates that emotional significance can play an important role in strengthening older memories. In this scenario, even if an event is insignificant when we are experiencing it, we can later update the information with an emotional element so as to strengthen the memory.

“We’re continuously monitoring our environment, and, in the process, accumulating countless details,” the study’s lead author, Joseph Dunsmoor, said —> Read More Here


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