The idea of being forgetful has been considered to be ‘less than desirable’ trait, similarly to acting stupid and lacking common sense. Not long ago, scientists have come up with something quite interesting: forgetful people have the best functioning brains!
Unfortunately, the foundation of our school systems is based on the idea that success lies in memorizing and retaining information. Hence, children are required to read and repeat back fact after fact, judging those who manage to recall less of the requited information.
According to a recent study at the University of Toronto, people who struggle with memory recall are not mentally inferior to others, but their brain is actually functioning at much higher level, creating space for new information like secrets of the Universe or high-end mathematical equations.
Published in the journal Neuron, titled ‘The Persistence and Transience of Memory, this study suggests that the growth of new neurons in hippocampus, the part of the brain linked to memory, promotes forgetfulness. The brain basically rids of old information to make more space for new and more important facts.
As explained by Professor Blake Richards, one of the authors of the study, “We always idealize the person who can smash a trivia game, but the point of memory is not being able to remember who won the Stanley Cup in 1972.
The point of memory I to make you an intelligent person who can make decisions giving the circumstances, and an important aspect in helping you do that is being able to forget some information.”
In fact, this isn’t the first time that scientists have studied the mysteries associated with memory. Back in 2007, scientists utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging to study and monitor the brains of twenty adults as they took part in a memory test. The results showed that people were much better at remembering conflicting information rather than easy or repetitive information.
“The process of forgetting serves a good functional purpose. What these guys have done is clearly establish the neurobiological basis for this process,” Michael Anderson, University of Oregon explained.
These results make sense, don’t they? Just think about it and break it down… The brain wants to eliminate the old and useless information such as an old password that has been changed to make more space to remember newer information. If the brain is cluttered in useless facts at all times, it is more difficult to focus on the information needed to make a decision or to recall a specific detail of a more recent experience.
So, the next time you find yourself having difficulties at Trivia Night, don’t worry. This means that your brain is working to make you even smarter in the long run.