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On one page in my book, I came across 3 different phrases for, what seems to me, subtly different ways of saying the same thing.

The first was: 頭の隅に

Then: 脳裏に

The information I was able to find was vague at best. Judging from the sort of "hidden" quality I attach to both and , I take to mean roughly "the back of one's mind".

The third phrase was: 目の奥に

I think this should be taken rather figuratively, meaning something like "the mind's eye" (judging from the context in the book), but again the definitions I could find for this were not helpful.

Are these phrases related? Are my guesses off the mark?

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This answers your question title not the detail but: 胸の中を明かす= unburden oneself / confide ⦅in a person⦆ ある考えが胸に浮かんだ= An idea occurred [came] to me: 自分の胸によく聞いてごらんなさい= Ask yourself. / Ask your own conscience:これで胸がすっとした= This takes a load off my mind. –  Tim Sep 14 '12 at 13:30

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

脳裏 and 目の奥 are often used with 焼き付く as in

脳裏に焼き付いた。

and are referring to an event, which has been etched into your brain or onto the back of your eyes. Hence, the latter is used for visual impressions, whereas the former can be used for any type of impression. Both are strong impressions, which are unforgettable.

頭の隅 corresponds to the back of your mind, as for example in

これを頭の隅に入れといてください。また今度詳しく説明します。
Just keep that in the back of your mind for now. I will explain it in more detail next time.

and is used for facts which are allowed to be forgotten, but which might help you make connections later on.

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