Place-based memory

Starbucks knock-off in our neighborhood in Accra

Starbucks knock-off in our neighborhood in Accra

When we were in the US, we were trying to remember the names of some places in Accra where we went all the time. Even though we had been home for only a few months, we could not remember them! We talked about it several times. We even tried to use memory helps like imagining we were there; no luck.

The day after arriving in Accra, still tired and suffering the effects of jet lag, I just blurted out the names of those places without trying.

I meet a lot of Africans when I travel. Then a few weeks or a month later I might meet one of them in a different place than where I met them. I know that I know the person, but I cannot think of their name, nor where I met them. Back in the place where I met the person, I might at least have a chance of remembering their name.

Apparently, my brain is divided into compartments. All the information for a specific place goes into that compartment and I can’t access it unless I am in that place. Although, even then there is no guarantee.

7 thoughts on “Place-based memory

  1. Hi Ed,

    I had to chuckle as I read today’s thoughts you posted. How many times I have found myself in this same situation… well, I really can’t remember how many times, but a lot! It also seems to get more frequent the more “mature” I get age wise. LOL Thanks for sharing from your heart, it reminds us all that we are not in this alone. I have carried a little pocket notebook in the past to try to write down those things that I need to remember, but now I am using the notes app on my phone for this. The key is filing it under a topic so I can then find it again. God bless you and your ministry and keeping us informed!

    In His Service,

    Howard Glosser Grace Church of Central Point, OR


  2. Hi Ed,   I tried the  COMMENT but it wouldn’t accept it.   I seem to have a lot of those  problems too.  Cheer up I think it comes with time, but you still have a lot off time ahead of you yet.    


  3. I’m finding the same thing. When I see people outside of their context, I recognize their faces… but their names stay in the back cupboards of my brain and refuse to move up to the front shelves, where I could access them. The cupboards of my brain are getting deeper and deeper as I get older and the front shelves are so full; there’s just not room at the front any more.

    Thanks for your thoughts on the subject. Nice to know I’m part of a growing majority! LOL


  4. We certainly do have amazing, and complicated, brains! It is fun to learn a little more from time to time about their incredible functions–and also frustrating, attempting to locate the correct “brain-file” at the right time. Oh well, we need grace for this too, as well as many other things. …I did read recently that at times we need those various related aspects of a memory to “bring it forth”–your location as an example. They said a smell, or some other connected aspect can be a trigger. I need lots of triggers these days!! If nothing else, it keeps us humble, and more fully depending on the our Lord to see us through! Blessings!


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