Memories and Our Emotions


To preface: this is a little theory combined with science and mixed with life questions to form new thoughts. The facts in this post are taken from Louann Brizendine's beautifully sculpted book "The Female Brain".

The hippocampus is a major component of the brain. It is this section that is responsible for memory, both long term and short term, emotions and learning. It is not a fluke that when you are faced with an embarrassing situation, or when your emotions are running rampant, that your memory stores and is able to pull out this emotion later in life. In other words, the hippocampus is responsible for any and all emotional scars.

Now, it is a fact that the hippocampus in a woman’s brain is larger than in a man’s brain. To be clear, this is not the portrayal of a feminist viewpoint. It is quite simply an attempt at understanding why women generally tend to hold onto their emotional scars more so than men, and it begins with this fact. Louann Brizendine, author of “The Female Brain”, says that “…guys circuits are incapable of encoding in their memory both pleasant and unpleasant emotional experiences because their hippocampus is smaller than that in a woman’s brain.” p.128 Therefore, a woman would clearly be more capable of holding onto memories, both good and bad, than a man. This leads me to believe that the hippocampus is therefore solely responsible for why women have certain and specific painful or happy memories from a time in their relationship and men have actual no recollection of the event even occurring.

This allows many other impeding questions to surface such as, does this then directly correlate to a man’s ability to move on faster than a woman? Do all men move on from an ex faster then women simply because their brains don’t collect, hold onto, and then store memories from their previous relationship? Or why when two male friends get in an argument they either don’t deal with the argument at all, or simply never actually be friends again? Do all women simply hold onto these emotionally scaring memories and carry them over into their next relationship?

It’s important to recognize that the hippocampus is not solely responsible for storing painful emotions. It’s responsible for all emotions and all memory including happiness, love and ecstasy. So it’s not just that women hold onto their painful emotional wounds, but they also forever remember what they were wearing on a first date turned love of their life.

I do realize that all situations vary and I am sure it is possible that there are women out there who move on faster than men. However, here I would like to argue that if that is the case, it is strongly likely that that woman was never really, truly in love with that man in the first place.