Forgetful? Study says that’s a sign your brain is working well

Have you forgotten where you put your car keys again?

Don’t blame yourself. A recent study has revealed that having moments of forgetfulness is actually a sign that your brain is functioning properly. In fact, being forgetful is a tool of the brain.

Forgetful? Study says that’s a sign your brain is working well

In a new study published in the journal Neuron, it was revealed that previous studies have shown that the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory, appears to promote forgetting of particular memories in order to make way for more information.

University of Toronto Assistant Professor and lead author Blake Richards explained that the real goal of memory is to “optimize decision-making”.

“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," Richards explained.

“It's important that the brain forgets irrelevant details and instead focuses on the stuff that's going to help make decisions in the real world,” he added.

According to Richards, the brain needs to filter what knowledge is necessary in order for us to come up with informed, logical choices and ultimately make better decisions.

"The point of memory is to make you an intelligent person who can make decisions given the circumstances, and an important aspect in helping you do that is being able to forget some information,” Richards said.

The researchers also pointed out that forgetfulness is a “highly evolved form of intelligence” as evidenced by a previous study in 2007. The study cited confusion from changing passwords on email accounts or computers as an example. Initially, we tend to mix up old and new passwords but through repetition, we develop a stronger memory of the new password and forget the old one.

-- Mini, The Summit Express

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