Neuroscientists Say the Human Brain Erases Unimportant Data to Make More Intelligent Decisions

Forgetfulness is a trait of many people like not remembering the names of the persons they have met in the past, dates, and even birthdays. However, this should not be considered as a drawback as according to latest researchers this is only a way for your brain to store other valuable information.

Nonetheless, there are people that have a more efficient brain and easily memorize data and because of that exists the prevailing idea in neurobiology that remembering information is the ultimate ability in having good memories.

According to the researchers at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) forgetting certain things in life is actually a good thing. The researchers from this university, Paul Frankland and Blake Richards, state that minor brain lapses like forgetting certain things is quite normal, as the old memories in the brain make way for the new ones.

They have also come to the conclusion that a person that has good memory does not necessarily mean that it is more intelligent. Moreover, they maintain that is even more useful to sometimes forget tiny facts than memorizing all details.

The definition of memory is based on remembering, and comparing neurobiological and computational mechanisms underlying transience. The leader of this study, Professor Richards, states that is of great essence for the brain to forget irrelevant details and thus focuses on the things that will be of great assistance in making good decisions. Let us go back to the definition of memory and explain why forgetting things is sometimes good, namely, the interaction between remembrance, or persistence, and transience, helps in the process of making decisions in dynamic, noisy environments.

According to the findings of the researchers the memory should serve as means of decision-making and not only as information transmission. Hence, transience boosts flexibility by lowering the influence of old information on memory-guided decision-making, and prevents going back always to specific past events thus promoting generalization.

The optimal decision-making is done by filtering out all those irrelevant details and focusing on things that bring smart decisions. Therefore, this makes transience as equally important as persistence. In terms of memory, “bad memory” is only brain mechanism to remove it so that there is enough space for important data while preventing energy waste by the brain in memorizing trivial information.

Professor Richards adds that if you from time to time forget some details that should not worry you as this means that your memory system is healthy and in fact it is doing its job.

Nevertheless, you need to be cautious if you are starting to forget large segments of important information and in such case immediately seek for medical attention.

Publisher’s Note: 

This article was initially published with a headline: “Neuroscientists Say Your Forgetfulness Is a Sign of Extraordinary Intelligence”, which in fact does not relate to the real content of the article.

In the article scientists do not focus on the issue that forgetfulness is related to higher intelligence, but simply maintain that the brain removes old information from memory as a way for more intelligent decisions just like we stated in the updated version of the article.



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