Skip to content
Surprising Science

Explaining the “Proustian Effect”

Neuroscientists at M.I.T.’s Picower Institute of Learning and Memory have uncovered why relatively minor details of an episode are sometimes inexplicably linked to long-term memories.

Why do small details play such a large roll in some of our memories? “‘Our finding explains, at least partially, why seemingly irrelevant information like the colour of the shirt of an important person is remembered as vividly as more significant information such as the person’s impressive remark when you recall an episode of meeting this person,’ said co-author and professor of neuroscience Susumu Tonegawa. … The data also showed that irrelevant information that follows the relevant event rather than precedes it is more likely to be integrated into long-term memory.”


Up Next