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Remote Memory

Remote memory is the ability to remember things that happened years ago.

Listen to the following scenario that illustrates an everyday example of remote memory in action. Click the audio icon when ready.

Play Audio  Transcript Demonstration of Remote Memory : "Remember that grade three?"
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Demonstration of Remote Memory

M is the Male speaker
F is the Female speaker

M. Remember that girl in the sculpture class in grade three?

F. Which one?

M. Red haired girl, sat in the front seat.

F. Third, in from the left hand side. Jane.

M. Jane. That's right. Yep. Her name was Jane. Right.

Examples of Remote Memory
How well do you remember the following events?

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  Your fourth birthday

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  Graduation day

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  Elvis Presley's death

Did you know?
Remote memory is difficult to study because it is hard to validate whether old memories (personal ones) are accurate or not. The research on remote memory and normal aging is somewhat contradictory. As an example, older people can often clearly remember an emotional event from years past and often tell the story. It is unclear whether this is due to remote memory or whether it is a result of telling the story over and over again.

Effects of aging on Remote Memory
Remote memory in older people is similar to that in younger people.

View Chart Remote Memory: Age range in relationship to the number of facts recalled

Tips to maintain or even improve your Remote Memory
To keep your remote memory active, there are some simple (and fun) things you can do such as:

  • Socializing with friends and family and talking nostalgia;
  • Writing your memoirs;
  • Reading old letters and clippings you've saved and asking why you saved these.

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