Are you forgetful? Do you have trouble forgetting things, schedules, and people you once knew from some years or even months ago? Well, don’t worry because scientists have recently confirmed that being forgetful is actually a sign of higher intelligence!
Now, what was I saying? LOL.
Traditional research on memory focused more on the advantages of people remembering everything. After all, it is important for people to remember a lot of things, right? But new research suggests that people with selective memory can be a sign of stronger, higher intelligence.
Scientists Blake Richards and Paul Frankland of the University of Toronto sifted through years’ worth of memory data and came up with a conclusion that a lot of us surely want to hear. Aside from the importance of remembering things, they found out that there is also much importance in forgetting things because this is important in our decision-making skills.
“The goal of memory is not the transmission of information through time, per se. Rather, the goal of memory is to optimize decision-making. As such, transience is as important as persistence in mnemonic systems,” the scientists explained in their study.
According to Richards and Frankland, when a person makes a decision, he does not necessarily have to use all the information he knows beforehand. Clearing up the brain by forgetting ‘outdated’ information provides your brain with more space for updated information.
To achieve this, the brain creates new neurons in the hippocampus that overwrites existing data that influence a person’s decision-making.
You might worry about forgetting details about your old job, your past relationships, your previous clients, or other information but don’t worry too much because it’s your brain telling you subconsciously that those stuff don’t really matter.
To put that into perspective, Richards explained that if your brain believes the information is something that is not really that important or is easily accessible through other ways, then it isn’t something worth remembering. This leaves your brain more space for information that is truly necessary to remember.
Of course, you have to be worried if you forget a lot of things frequently but this occasional data loss is just your brain updating itself. This means you have a perfectly healthy brain, a perfectly working memory system.
“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,” Richards explained.
Did you know that you can also help your brain by ‘cleaning up’ old data and unnecessary stuff? According to Richards, you can actually do a regular ‘clean-up’ of your memory by doing exercise.
“We know that exercise increases the number of neurons in the hippocampus,” he explained.
The increase in new neurons will help erase some memories – but there’s no need to worry. Trust your brain; it knows what information you need to remember and what information you need to erase.
“You don’t want to forget everything, and if you’re forgetting a lot more than normal that might be cause for concern. 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,” Richards explained.
So, being forgetful is not a bad thing! You’re doing just fine, forgetful genius…