- Friday, 02 March 2018
Do you find that you are constantly forgetting things or misplacing important objects? You probably feel bad about it or self-conscious of this unfortunate trait. Well, if you do feel slightly ashamed of your forgetfulness we've got some good news for you.
A study published by Neuron has found that having an absent mind is actually a form of intelligence as it shows that your brain is only focused on the important things. Paul Frankland and Blake Richards of the University of Toronto conducted the study and discovered that people who try to remember everything often have a hard time making important decisions.
CNN quotes Richards as saying: 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 all admire the person who can smash Trivial Pursuit or win at Jeopardy, but the fact is that evolution shaped our memory not to win a trivia game, but to make intelligent decisions. Another way of interpreting these findings is the term "competing data."
If you think about it literally, having too much information in your head means that it will be competing to be remembered in your mind, causing you to lose focus. Furthermore, with information now readily available to everyone at the click of a button it's not really worth storing all that useless knowledge unless you want to impress someone.
Richards adds: Instead of storing this irrelevant information that our phones can store for us, our brains are freed up to store the memories that actually do matter for us.
This conclusion was drawn after the researchers studied data on memory loss and brain activity in both humans and animals. They found that minds that were able to overwrite old memories with new ones were able to adapt to fresh situations quickly and didn't get caught up with older and potentially misleading information.