Why do we remember certain facts and not others?
If we think about our memories, we come to the following conclusion: we remember certain moments down to the smallest detail, while others seem much more confused. With some, we have the feeling that they have disappeared from our memory. Why do we remember certain facts and not others?
The main reason is that for information to be stored and kept in memory, it must be properly captured by our senses. For this, it is necessary that our levels of attention and perception function optimally because otherwise we will lose information about what happened. Moreover, repetition is very important so that the memory ends up consolidating in our mind.
Another reason lies in the phenomenon of which we are all victims at one time in our lives: that of cognitive dissonance. It is the discomfort we feel when we have two opinions, attitudes or beliefs to the contrary. This is related to selective memory because, to relieve this negative feeling, we tend to put aside one of the two opinions, attitudes or beliefs that we maintain, so as not to create conflict.
When we feel guilty of doing something contrary to our beliefs, such as having left a job, we always find a way to turn the situation around until we come to believe that it was really correct decision. Even though, basically, we know we would have liked not to have made that decision. By twisting our thoughts, the memory we will have of this decision will be completely different as time passes.
So, we do or do not remember certain events because our brain tends to reject superfluous things and keep what really matters. Thus, to protect ourselves, our memory normally keeps the good things so that we can remove from our minds the negative facts that hurt us .
With all this, we deduce that the function of selective memory is to sort through our memories. She places each of them in the corresponding place; on the one hand, it conceals certain memories in our mind because it considers that they bring us nothing or that they are not important and, on the other, it puts some in the front line, in case we would need it.