Expert explains why some memories linger longer

A graduate of UC Berkeley's psychology program, Chester Santos, has spent the past ten years teaching others how to get the best out of their memory.  

A memory he says varies from person to person " Why can someone remember an event from 20 years ago perfectly clear as opposed to someone else who can't?  Santo's says the answer is it just comes down to variations in human mental ability.

He adds that there are people good at remembering music others are good with numbers and even poetry.

Santos has authored two books on the subject and travels the country teaching others how to use visuals to trigger mental cues. 

Santos says it comes down to auditory memory, visual memory and kinesthetic - remembering events from specific body movements.

"There are people that are good at remembering things that happened to them in their past," he said, which is known as autobiographical memory.

What your feeling at a point in time can also play a role. "Emotion can affect your ability to remember events, but there's a fine line when it reaches the point that it is based on trauma,” he said. Santos says trauma can create mental blocks.

The majority of people tend to have stronger visual memory and are likely to remember events that they have witnessed rather than what they may have heard from decades earlier. Over time Santos says just because the memory of events becomes murky it doesn't mean that those specific events didn't take place.

The bottom line is that all of our brains are wired differently, but with trauma and or alcohol - problems can arise says Santos.