Why Is Memory So Good and So Bad?| Scientific American.com


istock/Barbara Dudzinska

What did you eat for dinner one week ago today? Chances are, you can’t quite recall. But for at least a short while after your meal, you knew exactly what you ate, and could easily remember what was on your plate in great detail. What happened to your memory between then and now? Did it slowly fade away? Or did it vanish, all at once?

Memories of visual images (e.g., dinner plates) are stored in what is called visual memory. Our minds use visual memory to perform even the simplest of computations; from remembering the face of someone we’ve just met, to remembering what time it was last we checked.

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