If you thought forgetting is a sign you’re developing premature Alzheimer’s, think again. Of course, we can all recall those times in school when we could learn dozens of poems by heart. And actually reproduce them accurately from memory. But just because we don’t have that same capacity of storage doesn’t make us, well, less clever. On the contrary.
Forgetting names, numbers or insignificant details can happen to all of us, even on our best days. We often go to the grocery store and can’t seem to remember what that thing that we most needed was. If you can handle shopping without a list, you’re my hero.
So if you were wondering why you can’t seem to remember the name of that actor you loved so much when you were younger, you’ve come to the right place. There is nothing wrong with you so you can stop blaming yourself for having to Google everything.
A study published in the Neuron Journal suggests forgetting is in fact a natural brain process that could even make you smarter at the end of the day. In that sense, having a perfect memory has little to do with a higher IQ. It’s actually healthier if you do let go of some details. I mean, wouldn’t it get tiring to remember EVERYTHING? Not a scientific claim, but your brain would probably explode.
We usually associate having a great memory with being the most intelligent. But that’s not the case. Remembering the big picture as opposed to tiny details is actually better for your brain and safer, especially long-term.
Our brains are much smarter than we think because what they do, without us even knowing, is to store the most significant stuff. That is, our hippocampus holds on to what matters and lets go of what doesn’t count. This allows us to be better and smarter at decision-making in the future.
From an evolutionary point of view, it makes perfect sense that we seem to remember more someone’s face rather than their name. Remembering a face could have once save us from a potential threat.
There is one other thing our brains do and that is to retain new memories and overwrite old ones. That’s because an overcrowded brain could interfere with our decision-making processes.
Do know that forgetting is a natural and healthy part of our lives. So next time you have a memory slip, just remember that it’s just your brain doing its job! Please share this!