Over the past four weeks at Penn State, I have been attacked with an abundance of information. Information on where classes are, what to study for a test, what time a club starts and so on. As I continue to forget little pieces of information in my classes, I realized I can still recite the lyrics to American Pie (a song that came out when I was only three years old). So why can we remember song lyrics so well, but not information we need to know in class?
We have something called “cement” memory and it can only store so much information, so when we learn something new it is hard for it to get “stuck” in your cement memory. Therefore the things we learn in bio don’t make the connection and we can easily forget about it. But the main thing is that as we get older we want to learn more but our memories are in fact too full. In a New York Times article it states Learning becomes more difficult as we age not because we have trouble absorbing new information, but because we fail to forget the old stuff, researchers say.” Therefore maybe our memories are filled with lyrics of songs we heard over and over as children and now our memory is too full. In this same article it talks about an experiment done with mice stating, “The researchers focused on two proteins — NR2A and NR2B — long known to play a role in the forging of new connections in the brain. Before puberty, the brain produces more NR2B than NR2A; in adulthood, the ratio reverses.”
While we might not be trying to learn the lyrics of songs, sometimes a catchy tune can get stuck in our heads and make the connection that other information can not. Therefore maybe start making catchy songs to help you study, because the brain can’t hold that much memory.