Memories that you cannot recall


Why painful memories linger with us

If you visit someone with a newborn baby, their description of the pain of childbirth often includes the phrase “never again”. One friend even begged me to dissuade her if she ever suggested having a second child in the future. Yet a few years later there she was, approaching the due date for the next baby. The explanation usually given is that women simply forget exactly what the pain was like because the brain edits out the memory. In evolutionary terms it might make sense to forget the pain of childbirth in case it deterred people from reproduction. But unfortunately it seems not to be that simple. On the subject of childbirth, for instance, a review of studies conducted before 2000, concluded that women do not completely forget labour pain – or the intensity of the pain they experienced. It’s a difficult topic to study, though. ….[READ]


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