Unlike a computer, which has random access memory that lets you grab the info you want directly, our memory is a tangled mass of connections, all of them linked to each other as if on interconnected chains.
Let's say you want to use your grandma's bread recipe. On a computer, if you want to find your grandma's bread recipe, you find it directly. In your brain, you don't get the recipe directly. You're going to think of your grandma, holidays at her house, how her kitchen smelled when she baked her bread, what she looked like-eventually you'll get to the bread recipe.
In our minds, we remember by traveling from one linked connection to another until we finally find what we want.
Here's Andi Bell showing host Robert Winston that association works for anyone. At the end, Winston explains how these linked connections work.
As Winston explains in the video, we have trouble digging up a memory if there is only one neural pathway to it. Neural pathways are easily broken (forgotten). When we interlink and create many pathways (grandma's face, the smell of the kitchen, her house, the bread plate), a broken pathway won't slow us down. We'll just hop on another route to get to the memory we need.
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