Cognitive science tells us that the further we get away from an event, the fuzzier our memory of it becomes. It begins to co-mingle with other ideas and feelings until it becomes something else — not entirely different than the original, but not the same either.

We remember loved ones gone, or a challenging event, or the first home we lived in, but not quite in the same way each time.

Quite interestingly, many think our brain does this in order to enhance our ability to recall information. By linking information together, we’re creating schemas that make it easier to bring information to the fore when we need it.

Schemas are the filters we use to sort information. They are the biases we approach the world with. If information is more aligned with a schema, we recall it faster. In other words, biases not only influence how we think, but how we remember.

If biases change how we remember — loved ones, cherished memories, or the pain of loss — it’s worth reflecting on the biases we hold. Do we want them to influence how we think about those events and people, or would they bring irrevocable damage to their memories?

Approaching our biases critically is important for building on our knowledge of the world, but it’s also important for remembering the things most important to us.

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