Can Forgetting Certain Things Be Good for Your Brain?
Here's what two neuroscientists think.
Is forgetfulness always a bad thing?
Of course, trouble with memory can be sign of a serious condition, but forgetting things is actually an important service from your brain. In a 2017 review published in the scientific journal Neuron, two scientists examine the function of forgetting.
“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," says University of Toronto Scarborough Assistant Professor Blake Richards in a press release regarding his and a colleague's paper.
“We find plenty of evidence from recent research that there are mechanisms that promote memory loss, and that these are distinct from those involved in storing information,” says co-author Paul Frankland, University of Toronto associate professor and senior scientist of neurosciences and mental health at The Hospital for Sick Children.
Of course, streamlining information and focusing on relevant details is an ever-important skill in this modern world. “If you’re trying to navigate the world and your brain is constantly bringing up multiple conflicting memories, that makes it harder for you to make an informed decision," says Richards of their theory on the importance of forgetting.
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While the paper far from suggests we forget significant things we've learned over the years, we'll take this research as a sign that it's officially okay that we have officially forgotten what row and seat number we were sitting in at our first Garth Brooks concert. (Our 17-year-old self never thought we'd see the day.)
To help protect your noggin', check out 5 Ways To Boost Your Memory That Actually Work