Saturday, May 8, 2010

Suppressing Depressing Thoughts

Have you ever heard the phrase: "Jangan benci Cikgu, nanti susah nak masuk ilmu ape yang dia ajar, fail exam nanti!". Here's a scientific look:

As I mentioned in one of my post, memories are stored in chain. When we learn, we can't take in only the knowledge into our memories, but also other things associated when we study the knowledge, for example, who was teaching it, the place where you study it, the book you read it in, or even the color of the writing (that's why colorful notes work better for remembering). We store a whole chain of memories instead of just the memory of the knowledge. The same is with recalling what we've learned. When we recall what we've learn, a chain of memories are brought up into consciousness. If the first time you heard about 'Napolean Bonaparte' was when teacher A taught you, recalling facts about Napolean will automatically bring up the image of teacher A who taught you about it.

Now, here's a brain fact:

"Our brains tend to repress the memories that we find depressing"

We can see this in people who survived from post-traumatic disorder. People suffer post-traumatic disorder after going through traumatic, or painful and depressing experience. Throughout the phase of the disorder, the patient is continually in a state of depression because he or she can still remember the traumatic experience. When doctors asked about the traumatic experience, the patient can recall the event in vivid details. But our brain has a defense mechanism to overcome this depression: by attempting to forget or repress the bad memories forever. After the patient is free from the disorder, we can ask the patient to recall back the memories of the traumatic experience. Surprisingly, the patient will forget most of the experience, the details become blurry, and sometimes, the patient don't remember at all! The brain was successful in repressing the bad memories.

The details of the events was forgotten because it was chained to the memory of the traumatic event, and our brains tend to repress the memories that are depressing. So, the event, along with all the details was somewhat 'erased' from our minds.
The brain hasto do this in order for us to survive. If we voluntarily keep on replaying the bad memories, our brain will fail to impliment this defense mechanism, something wrong will happen to our brains. This can lead to schizophrenia, or in common words insanity or craziness. People who chose not to forget or let go off their traumatic memories are the ones most likely to become crazy or insane.

In learning, it is hard for us to recall what we've learned when the memory of the knowledge is chained to something that we hate or find depressing. This is especially true when we hate the person that is teaching us the knowledge, or even if we hate the environment we're studying in. Firstly, when we hate the teacher, we would most probably choose not to bother what he or she says. So one thing is that less memory is stored. Secondly, even if we do listen and try to remember what the teacher says, the memory of the knowledge is chained with the memory of the teacher. Remember that we recall in chains, so we can't recall what the teacher says without recalling the memory of the teacher. Since our brains will try to repress things that we hate or find depressing, the knowledge, along with the memory of the 'hated' teacher, will be repressed and forgotten.Same goes to the environment we study in. If we find the place or school we study in is depressing, it takes a lot more effort for us to take in and recall what we've learned. Everything is chained, so if we hate one part, the brain will try to repress the whole chain of memories, including our much needed knowledge


mimiqt said...

2 entries in one day Lutfi? wow. and your diligent follower here read both of it. Tahniah! haha.

I remember studying something about PTSD in psyc. The traumatized patient would even tremble in fear upon the smell of petrol. Because that reminds him of war. But yes, this is the first time that I heard about repressing the bad memories.

To be honest, I've always remembered the high and the low of my life because those were the most significant points in my life. It sticks to my memory because it has too much of an impact to be forgotten.


Faramidi said...

thanks lut, this is something i can really use to scare my students in the future. haha.

Lutfi Fadil said...

mimi: Yep, when the patient is still in his PTSD phase, even a small thing can trigger his whole chain of memories...yes we do remember the ups and lows, but don't u think we remember the details of the happy moments better than the lows?

Faraha: Haha, pleasure to play a part in scaring ur students =P

yuyu said...

aah~! now it's clear why things get a bit more difficult than usual..but seriously, how could you force yourself to enjoy the course that has been giving you a lot of headaches..? *air mata darah ok* hu~yes, i'm a drama queen..

||Aku Pemikir|| said...


minta untuk diambil linknya dan minta untuk letak link aku di blog ko..dapatlah jugak kte sama-sama jadi follower di blog masing2.

moga dapat bertukar pandangan dan pendapat


mimiqt said...

"Our brains tend to repress the memories that we find depressing"

Lutfiiiiiii....aku tak benci lecturer. tapi ape yg die ajar susah gile ni weh.. beyond abstraction.

tiap kali bace notes rase nak muntah. wahahaha. betul la kot fakta tu. cumenye aku nak exam minggu depan nehhhh... takkan nak repress memories kott.

haha. sempat menyebok kat sini lagi kan.:p

marmasri said...

the bad memories/experiences actually teach you that we r not always in safe n good zone..we should not totally forget our bad memories..but to balance ur mind between good n bad memories.never let ur bad memories affect ur future life.

jangan benci cikgu,mintak restu dan doa dari mereka...insyaAllah,ilmu diberkati..:)

anisizatyA.J said...


Anonymous said...

Not true.

Going perfume

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