How Long Can A Person Remember Something (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 20 Years

Giving birth to a baby is one of the best feelings in the world. It is for the first time that the couple had helped in creating a life. When the baby cries, the parents pick him or her up and engage in activities. The reaction of both the parents’ faces lightens up with each sound made by the baby. As the baby grows, all three of them make memories together. Most of those moments are captured through the lens.

As a toddler, the baby makes his or her memory and it stays with them for a long period. Over time, as the toddler turns into a man or woman, they may not remember all the details vividly but they remember just enough to make them feel nostalgic. A person can remember an event for 20 years just like the mentioned case.

How Long Can A Person Remember Something?

Toddler Memory>20 Years
Old Age Memory<5 Years

According to science, a person can remember something for 20 years. The mentioned 20 years is an average figured and the time may go up or down depending upon the person. A teenager will vividly remember his or her toddler years because at that point in life the brain develops the most. But in the case of an old person, it may be difficult to remember something that has happened over 40 years before.

Every day all the people of the world see something or experience something. It may be an office presentation, childbirth, a heartfelt conversation with a special one, eating lunch in a roadside shop, etc. Not all of them are relevant. The brain remembers the one which is special. A person may follow the same routine of going for a morning jog every day. He will not remember every jog until something uncertain has happened.

A person suffering from Alzheimer’s disease cannot remember anything. His or her memories fade away within a few hours or in some cases minutes. There has been a lot of studies based on memories and the ability to remember a thing. There are certain cases where people above 80 years still remembered their toddler memories. The memories were not that special, but the brain cells were working perfectly.

The brain cannot process a large number of things at once. So it does remember everything daily. For example, a student who has been studying and practicing for a whole year will score better marks than a student who was only studying the day before the exam.

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Why Does It Take Long For A Person To Remember Something?

It does not take a long time to remember something. If a certain incident is relevant then the only delay to remember the incident is when the brain is processing the event, which is a matter of few seconds. Sometimes it may take longer than that as the details might have faded away as the memory has not been relished for a long time. Sometimes a completely different incident may trigger a memory which in turn keeps the memory to be remembered vividly.

According to science, there are three stages of memory storage. The first one is called sensory memory. In this stage, the memory is forgotten within fractions of a second if the brain does not reinforce the memory to the next stage. The second stage is called short-term memory. In the case of short-term memory, the memory is repeated verbally inside the brain which helps to remember it. It is not done, then it may be forgotten.

It is the case when a person visits a gathering and does not remember the names of the people he or she met at the gathering as that person did not repeat the memory verbally. The third one is called long-term memory. In this stage, the short-term memory is converted to long-term memory. To do so, it is required to verbally repeat the memory as well as include it inside the existing knowledge corner of the brain.


Life as a toddler is one of the very special moments in life. At that point in life, the parents take care of every need and help with all the difficult tasks. But when old age comes, there are no parents to look to. At that point, the memories help the most. People may or may not remember everything vividly but a touch of nostalgia with their parents smiling faces is more than enough to bring happiness to that person.

The power to remember something is very important for every person and medical science is working very hard to find ways to preserve that special feeling.