Apparently, somebody has recalled previously forgotton memories and become able to speak fluent french after a coma. I'm wondering if people can also train themselves to be good at recalling previously forgotten memories by training themselves to recall information they've forgotten that there's a record of.

For example, if a cell phone gets invented where you can type in somebody's name and then type what their phone number was and when you want to phone them, you have to go to their name and then start typing digits from beginning to end from memory and as soon as you type a digit incorrectly, you get notified and then you have to type that digit followed by the next digit and will be notified when you do so correctly, I wonder if the people using it would train themselves to recall memories of what phone numbers were.

I wonder if people would become even smarter if some of the memories they trained themselves to recall were memories from before they started the training because that way, their brain has to form complex connections in order to recall memories that were lost in the brain than to just not forget stuff they learn from then on. That's probably because lost memories get scattered to unrecognizability in the brain but that doesn't mean there isn't a complex method of extracting the memory from the disorder. Maybe unlike the man in the previously linked video who thought he was somebody else, with sufficient training, they'll learn how to properly extract their past experience correctly from the disorder and have undistorted memories. Maybe getting an actual defect in the connection suppressing ability making you do something like only have suppress unimportant connections from an accident like in that video could make it so easy to recall previously forgotten memories cause of not suppressing the connections for extracting them that much and be superior to any possible training to recall previously forgotten memories because you'll be hyper-aware thinking about a large amount of your past all at once because it's just as easy as thinking about a single past experience because the memories of the individual experiences were already lost in the brain, and the you can recall memories that were even more badly lost with the defect in the connection suppressing ability than you would with training alone.

I wonder if in general, it's easier for autistic people to train themselves to recall previously forgotten memories.

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    $\begingroup$ The question is incoherent, so gotta vote to close it, but for what it's worth, recalling memory has been shown to modify it, rather than improve it. $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Aug 27, 2016 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


Memory is not fixed - it is very plastic. If you look at Amnesia, there are many different causes and many different ways it can manifest itself. It can also be anywhere between mild and severe. There are methods which can be used to try and prevent further memory loss - by abstaining from alcohol when it is caused by alcohol abuse such as with Korsakoff's syndrome, by using diaries, calendars, wall planners etc. But just like with Alzheimer's Disease there is no effective (and ethical treatment) for memory loss.

Which brings me onto the ethics of memory recall therapy or training. If you look at studies into memory and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) - also found in category F43.1 in ICD-10 - methods used to try and help sufferers to remember the traumatic events for this example, have been found through research to cause False Memory Syndrome. Although as with many pieces of research, there are opponents to the idea.

From what I know, and believe from looking at research, once memory is lost, it is lost for good. You may recall parts of the memory through various ways but to try and recall the whole memory can lead to a change in what actually happened as @Arnon pointed out in his comment.

  • $\begingroup$ Just because a memory is forgottn doesn't necessarily mean the information about the past experience is totally lost from the brain. Just becasue the person can't recall it at all doesn't mean a way to determine the person's past experience correctly from the state of their brain doesn't exist. We don't know that there isn't a way to train the person to correctly recall all those past memories just because we haven't found one. Is a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease unethical if it has a chance of worsening the disease? $\endgroup$
    – Timothy
    Aug 30, 2016 at 15:48
  • $\begingroup$ @Timothy your comment to me is contradictory. We do not have a way to conclusively say we can train the brain to remember forgotten past events without the risk of false memories so therefore we don't have a way that is ethical and if it is not ethical it would be against any codes of practice any professional would follow. As for Alzeimers sufferers, medication available can slow the degenerative effects of the disease but it can't recover the lost memories. $\endgroup$ Aug 30, 2016 at 16:09
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe the false memories aren't really memories at all and are the result of the misinterpretation of a past experience from the state of the brain and with more training, the person can start interpreting them correctly. $\endgroup$
    – Timothy
    Sep 12, 2016 at 19:32

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