Event planners around the world are constantly requested to come up with ideas or concepts that would make the experience memorable for the guests or attendees. We live in an era where there are far too many distractions. Be it the flurry of newspapers or the endless tweets, advertisements screaming for our attention or professional commitments drowning our daily schedules, the world could do with fewer things to focus on but that is not to happen. As event organizers try to plan memorable events, it is necessary to factor in emotions.
The role of emotions in memory is scientifically proven and has been explained with the help of evolution. Let us first understand the science behind it.
Scientific Explanation of the Role of Emotions in Memory
Every significant emotion is essentially a response to what happens to us. Just as our body responds to stimuli and we have physical reactions, our mind also responds to actions or reactions around us and whatever happens to us. Those that have little impact do not induce an emotional reaction. Those that have an emotional impact become a memory.
There is no dearth of studies that have highlighted how the most memorable incidents of one’s life are those that have a profound emotional impact. Incidents that don’t leave an emotional footprint are considered neutral events where one has no stake. Hence those instances are often forgotten. In best case scenarios, those events will be remembered but not vividly.
Whether it is joy or sorrow, pain or surprise, love or bereavement, strong emotions create indelible memories. The scientific explanation is quite simple here. Emotions trigger the same parts of the brain and initiate the same neuro-chemical activity, which are responsible for encoding memory and recalling that memory when one wants. The recalling may even happen subconsciously.
Emotions, Memory and Evolution
No one really knows for sure when human beings were evolved enough to have strong memory. Even the Paleolithic humans had memory so one would guess the genetic predisposition to be able to process an incident and recall it as a memory was developed even before. It can all be traced back to the survivalist tendency of every living species. The earliest humans learned through experience what is safe and what is not. Thus began the genetic embedding of information that makes people aware of the treats around, from heat or cold to wild animals and sharp objects. The threats don’t just cause pain and have the potential to be fatal but they also induce an emotional reaction, from pain or suffering to joy or just delight for having been saved. Emotions, memory and evolution are all interconnected.