Today, like every day, I've promised not to forget some important information and already have. It's easy to see how our memories fail us. However, our minds are exceptional: short- and long-term memories can be created, stored, and recalled instantly. Chapter 7 calls this perplexing situation the paradox of memory: "The same memory mechanisms that serve us well in most circumstances can sometimes cause us problems in others" (Lilienfeld et al. 242). Being a forgetful person, I was most interested in this chapter's explanation of what goes wrong with short-term memories and ways to improve its function.
One instance where our memories fail us is memory illusion: when we recall false but compelling memories (Lilienfeld et al. 244). By relying of our best guesses to make sense of the fragments of memories we retain, we can sometimes be misled into memory illusions. Another issue with memory retention is the complex system of three memories: sensory memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory. Only some of the raw information we gather with our senses at the sensory stage is passed on to the short-term memory, and even less is subsequently relayed to the long-term memory. The longer we wait to recall short-term memories, the more they decay over time. I learned about using mnemonics, the Magic Number, and chunking to improve my short-term memory. I really hope these devices help me retain my memories better in the future!
Psychology: From Inquiry to Understanding by Scott Lilienfeld, Steven Lynn, Laura Namy, and Nancy Woolf (Chapter 7, p. 243-9).