Apr 18, 2023
Memory is a funny thing. We like to think we have
these perfect pictures of what really happened in our minds waiting
to be retrieved in pristine condition, but that’s not at all how it
works. It turns out we have all sorts of biases that, well, bias
our memories. And that is important to know in our interactions
with other people in life and business.
The truth is: you can remember something completely
different from someone else, and neither of you has to be wrong.
Let me say that again, even if you remember something that is
completely different than someone else, it doesn’t mean that either
of you is wrong. Our brains screen for different information than
what someone else might be screening for (focusing illusion and
confirmation bias). That subconscious filter is sifting through a
lot of stuff, and what mattered to you and what you remember is
never the full picture. This episode, which originally came out in
early 2019, is a quick run through of a bunch of memory biases
(part of the 8-part “All the Biases” series).
So, why was memory important to refresh today? It is
because of the guest I am delighted to introduce you to this coming
Friday, Dan Willingham, a memory expert whose book Outsmart Your
Brain will change your life (and that of every learner you know).
Outsmart Your Brain has chapters on “how to take notes,” “how to
listen to a lecture,” “how to read hard books,” “how to take
tests,” and more. It is fascinating and will help you with any
presentation you may give or meeting you will be in moving forward.
Trust me, you’re gonna love that conversation and Dan’s book, so be
sure to subscribe to The Brainy Business podcast now (before you
forget). (Haha, memory joke!)
- [00:39] Today’s episode is all about memory biases.
Memory is a funny thing.
- [01:16] You can remember something completely
different from someone else, and neither of you has to be
- [03:41] Today’s episode is going to be divided into
three sections: general memory stuff, false memories, and tips on
how you can use these biases to help you remember things
- [04:45] Our memories are basically inaccurate
renditions our brains tell us and every time we access them we
change them a little. So the more you think about something the
less and less it is like the original version. (Frustrating, but
- [06:26] Your customers, coworkers, friends, and
family all have these same biases, so hopefully learning more about
all your brains will help in all sorts of interactions in the
- [07:20] You are the hero of your own story and no one
will remember your story as well as you do (but of course even you
don’t remember your story correctly). The emotions tied to bad
memories will fade quicker than the emotions tied to positive
- [10:08] A few well planned surprise and delight
moments throughout a relationship can create good peaks (and
remember the most recent end holds the most weight).
- [12:38] A false memory is when we accidentally think
something we imagined really happened and misattribute it as a
- [14:15] Our brains are powerful, but they are easily
- [15:39] The opposite of a false memory is called
cryptomnesia when a real memory is mistaken as imagination because
there is not a proper experience of it being a memory.
- [17:21] We do tend to remember the efforts we had to
put in as much higher than they were and toils more difficult as
they were in reality.
- [19:12] Don’t feel like you need to remember
everything about everything. Instead, remember important things
that can’t be easily looked up, and don’t gunk up your brain with
all the trivial information.
- [20:45] If you want to be able to remember things
better and with easier recall, it is best to have repeated exposure
over a long span of time instead of trying to cram it all in at the
- [22:14] Try to commit things to memory in the context
they belong to or multiple contexts so they are less isolated. The
mood we are in is also tied to the context.
- [24:13] If you want to remember things, write them
- [25:51] Visual images are often recalled by our
visual subconscious faster and easier than words because of the
picture superiority effect.
- [27:38] We all put so much effort into making things
as easy as possible to read and process but in reality due to
processing difficulty, stuff that takes longer to read and process
is easier to remember.
- [28:43] We are provided with lists of things all the
time and the way those things are presented absolutely impacts
- [30:15] Due to the next in line effect you are less
likely to remember the words people spoke just before you because
you were distracted with what you wanted to say. Being a good
listener is key to building relationships in life and
- [31:40] Melina’s closing thoughts
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