Contrary to popular opinion, forgetfulness is a sign of higher intelligence, researchers from the University of Toronto have found.
So, if you’re the type to forget things that people usually remember, you might want to start bragging about it.
The research paper, published in the journal [Neuron](https://www.cell.com/neuron/fulltext/S0896-6273(17), is based on numerous studies that analysed the neurobiology behind our capabilities to remember and forget – the paper concluded that the two processes are intertwined in the mind, allowing for 'intelligent decision-making in dynamic, noisy environments'.
Ultimately, the true purpose of memory is to optimise our decision-making, as explained by assistant professor Blake Richards:
“The real goal of memory is to optimize decision-making. 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.”
‘Bad memory’ in this respect is actually a mechanism in the brain which serves to quickly make space for relevant information and not allow the brain to waste energy and space remembering the mundane and trivial information.
As you get older, you may begin to realise that your ability to remember every little thing is decreasing, but don’t worry, that’s only because your brain is making room for more significant information rather than “mundane and trivial information.” Our remarkable brains spend energy storing and forgetting information. While some previous researchers who focused on the cellular mechanisms in storing information suggest that inability to remember is caused by a failure in the mechanisms involved in storing or recalling information, this research study argues that as we continue to expose ourselves to new information, the older, less significant information becomes less useful.
So, the next time you forget where you put your keys, don’t worry, you haven’t got early-onset memory loss, you’re just super intelligent to remember where you put them!