When I start describing a recent event to a friend and they stop me and say, “You already told me about this,” my first reaction is to feel mortified. My next reaction is to feel worried I’m starting to lose my marbles, since we all know that repetitive story-telling is a hallmark of memory loss in the elderly. I try to quell my concern by reminding myself that I’m not elderly yet, and besides, my forgetful repetitions are hardly a recent phenomenon: they started years ago.
It turns out I’m not alone in this. Repetitive story-telling is such a widespread phenomenon across the age spectrum that a group of researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario decided to get to the bottom of it. In studying both short-term and long-term memory, they discovered there is a particular kind of memory at which we human being do not excel. It’s called destination memory. [Read more…]