If your memory skills are poor, don’t be desperate. It turns out that a strong memory is a severely overrated asset, according to new research. The research was published in the journal Neuron. The report, written by researchers from the University of Toronto made an important conclusion. It concluded that forgetting things is not only very common, but it actually makes us stronger. Cheers to the forgetful ones!
There are people who always pride themselves on their good memory. Then, there are ones who can barely remember what they ate for dinner last night. After years of research, scientists have discovered that the ultimate goal of memory is not to transmit the most accurate information over time. Paul Frankland and Blake Richards proposed that memory is actually best used to optimise intelligent decision-making by holding onto valuable information and letting the rest go. This will make room only for things that really matter.
One of Frankland’s studies on mice found out what happens when new brain cells are formed in the hippocampus 9where your short-term memories cecome long-term memories). Then, all the old memories and connections are overwritten.
“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. We know that exercise increases the number of neurons in the hippocampus, but they’re exactly those details from your life that don’t actually matter, and that may be keeping you from making good decisions.”
Forgetfulness can be useful for our brains, especially when we forget specifics about past events while still remembering the large pictures. Researchers believe this allows us to generalize previous experiences in a better way.
It’s important to note that this does not include people who always forget important things. If memory loss is very frequent it can be a cause for concern.
On the other hand, forgetting details every now and then is actually the sign of a healthy memory system doing exactly what it should do.
Interestingly, technological advances have been helpful in terms of phone numbers, events, and birthdays and freeing up space in our brains for more important events.
How to improve your memory skills
You can start by making lists and trying to recall them later on in the day. Mental arithmetic is also a great way to exercise memory. It kind of forces you to juggle numbers in your head. Another thing you can do is taking up a new hobby, like learning a new language, or sport.
If you don’t do any of these, you may become lazy and rely purely on technology.
Here are some paintings that will probably mess with your brain.