Selective Memory (A complete guide)

This article will give a brief idea about “Selective Memory”.

Then it will describe Selective Amnesia and the difference between selective memory and selective amnesia.

Later it will highlight the triggers of selective memory.


Selective memory is the ability to remember certain events and incidents and not remembring others at a particular point in time.

For example, a person may remember that there is a party at his home but doesn’t remember what things he was asked to bring for the party.

These memories can be said that are held back on purpose, though only the subconscious or the unconscious mind know about this.

When a person only remembers a selective memory and forgets other memories there are chances that he tries to get back on it by a phrase “slipped my mind”

Selective memory is one of the different types of memories. Others include, Reconstructive memory for example.

Difference Between Selective Memory and Bad Memory:

  • Selective Memory means forgetting a memory which the brain usually thinks is unimportant and remembers a memory when he wants to remember it specifically
  • On the other hand, bad memory refers to the problems in cognitive processing in the brain which don’t allow a person to remember things, they can be small or big, their memory weakens day by day
  • In Selective Memory, a person selects information that he wants to remember but with the case of bad memory, a person doesn’t have any choice of remembering something
  • In Selective memory, a person easily can remember the old days or a memory that he wants to cherish or hold on to, but if a person has bad memory this joyous moments are hard to get by these people.
  • Bad memory can be a sign of developing organic disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, etc. 

There is an area or section of your memory, the Phonological Loop which stores all the information related to language.


It is a type of amnesia in which the patient loses certain memories.

It basically happens when a traumatic event takes place and the person forgets the memory of it altogether, it’s like it never happened before.

It’s different from retrograde or anterograde amnesia, it is the selective memory that has been wiped out involuntarily.

Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia:

Some people believe that the two of the concepts are the same but it’s not entirely true.

Yes, they are similar in terms that “selective” memory is forgotten in both of the terms but there are conditions in them. 

In selective amnesia, a trauma, either physical or mental creates the situation and a certain memory or memories are wiped out from the person’s life and it needs medical attention for the same.

However, in selective memory, it’s not entirely involuntary, it is not something happened after some trauma of an accident.

For example, in selective memory a person can remember the memory if he forces it through, or if he wants to remember a particular memory in the past, he can remember and relive it but he wouldn’t remember the rest of the events of that day.    


There can be some triggers to either turn the switch off of memories or switch it back on and here are some of them-

  • Stress:

Stress is one of the reasons for all the problems in the world. Taking too much of stress leads a person to forget important things from his mind.

  • Imbalanced Emotions:

People who suffer from emotional problems like dealing with a tragedy or dealing with losing someone important can lead to remembering only limited selective memory. 

  • Poor Nutrition:

Our brain also needs fuel and without that fuel, it’s difficult to make it run properly. Proper nutrition is necessary to take in order to remember certain things properly.

  • Insomnia:

Lack of sleep is another reason or might be a bigger trigger towards selective memory.

Proper sleep helps the brain to function properly and therefore lack of sleep will make the brain weak and vulnerable due to which forgetting becomes a part of life.

All these triggers if happen more often then it may lead to a bad condition of bad memory and eventually will lead to developing an organic disorder.


This blog has given a brief idea about “Selective Memory”.

Then it has described Selective Amnesia and the difference between selective memory and selective amnesia.

Later it has highlighted the triggers of selective memory. I hope you liked reading it, please feel free to comment or give a suggestion, we would really appreciate it.


Is selective memory bad?

Selective memory is not bad until it becomes a memory problem and starts developing an organic problem