It's normal to forget some things, and it's normal to become somewhat more forgetful as you age. "I couldn't find my purse when I came home from the supermarket the other day, so I drove back to the store in a panic. I was convinced it had been stolen!" a patient told me. "But when I got home and was unpacking the groceries, there it was in one of the shopping bags." This is a classic instance of absentmindedness, a memory lapse that's so much a part of the human condition it's the stuff of comedy skits.
Do you find that not only do you forget things but your mind also "plays tricks" on you? You feel so confident about your recollection of a particular event, only to discover that you are entirely wrong on one or more key details. Let's say you remember that your neighbor's daughter became engaged and you are sure that your neighbor told you this information. But it turns out that you'd actually read about it in the local newspaper. This is an example of misattribution, a memory error that happens to practically everyone and becomes more common with age.
Absentmindedness and misattribution are but two kinds of memory problems that are so common they're considered within 29_
the range of normal experience. Having occasional memory lapses is not a sign that you have a memory disorder. It's only when they occur regularly or when they come to involve more significant or familiar information that they're a cause for concern.
Schacter's Seven Sins
In his book The Seven Sins of Memory (2001), Daniel Schacter, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, reviews the most common types of problems that interfere with everyday memory function. These "sins" affect everyone some of the time; they don't just befall people with serious memory impairments.
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Plainly affection is an emotion, but it's likewise much more than that. Among the key choices you face in each encounter is the choice to draw close or avoid. You are able to attempt to connect with individuals, or you are able to retreat from them. You are able to absorb yourself in your day's work, or you are able to dillydally. You may approach any individual, place, or thing with the aim to connect, or you may stay distant.