Many of my memories that I seem to remember the most detail about have something to do with my getting into some sort of trouble. The details all seem so vivid to me, even years later, and that all has to do with a little almond shaped area in the brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is located in the medial temporal lobes of the brain and has been shown to perform a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions.
Generally, it seems to be our fearful memories that we remember the most. The heart starts beating, little beads of sweat start to form on the forehead, prickly hairs my stand up on the back of one's neck. One of my most remembered memories is one from high school. I was at a party and had been, ahem, under age drinking. (Let me just state that I am now legal drinking age!) Everything seemed to be going smoothly until there was a very loud knock on the door and someone yelled "COPS!". So, out the back door I went. It was raining and I was running. Fence? No problem, I jumped it. I did, however, slip in the grass and lay motionless for about three seconds. Then I was back up and ready to run again.
After what seemed like forever, I finally made it back home. I crawled through my bedroom window(remember, I was 16 and not supposed to be out at a party) heart still beating wildly. I peered up the stairs, no lights on. Good sign, that means mom is still asleep. I threw my wet clothes into the hamper and went to bed. Phew. I had escaped the cops...and mom.
That memory will always stick in my mind, even several years later, much thanks to the amygdala! Without it, we wouldn't be able to share these memories and laugh about them years down the road.