Having good memory recall can be really useful. It can come handy in the classroom, at the workplace and for everyday tasks such as shopping. When we forget someone’s name or the most important item on our shopping list, it can be frustrating and leave us feeling slightly stupid for having a brain lapse. However, a study conducted by the Neuron Journal suggests that forgetting is a natural brain process that could in fact make you smarter.
The researchers from the University of Toronto say that forgetting is just as important as remembering. They focused on several studies and analysed the neurobiology behind remembering and forgetting. The results suggest that the two processes interact with each other. According to lead researcher, Professor Blake Richards, this allows for “intelligent decision-making in dynamic, noisy environments. In this instance, ‘bad memory’ is a mechanism in the brain which efficiently makes space for relevant information. In order to work optimally, the brain filters out irrelevant details and only holds on to things that will contribute to intelligent decisions.
Professor Richards explains that “one of the things that distinguishes an environment where you’re going to want to remember stuff versus an environment where you want to forget stuff is this question of how consistent the environment is and how likely things are to come back into your life.” For example, facts such as phone numbers are easily accessible. As a result, this is not something that your brain is likely to remember. Instead, your brain will free up space for other important pieces of information which are completely necessary for later recall. Furthermore, your brain also reclassifies existing information so that it serves a better purpose in your decision making.
Professor Richards went on to say that “You don’t want to forget everything and if you’re forgetting a lot more than normal that might be a cause for concern.” He continued further “But if you’re someone who forgets the occasional detail, that’s probably a sign that your memory system is perfectly healthy and doing exactly what it should be doing”.
So don’t worry if you struggle to remember little trivial details because having a solid grasp of the big picture is better for your brain.
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I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here