Are you forgetful? That’s just your brain erasing useless memories

Most of us think “Perfect” memory means never forgetting, but maybe forgetting actually helps us navigate a world that is random and ever-changing.

We have yet to find the limits of what the human brain can store, and there’s more than enough room, so to speak, for us to remember everything.

Still, the brain actually spends energy making us forget, by generating new neurons that “Overwrite” the old ones, or by weakening the connections between neurons.

Our brains tend to forget memories of things that happened more quickly than general knowledge.

“The brain’s principle is to forget everything except those instances that were highly salient,” says Richards.

Traumatic events like assault, for example, stick with us because the brain wants us to remember, and avoid, things that will help us survive.

Ultimately, says Richards, we often assume that memory is a good thing, but “At the end of the day, our brains only do things if it was good for our survival from an evolutionary perspective.” And in the case of memory, he adds, our brains probably have been shaped by evolution to only remember that stuff that is pertinent to our survival.

This article was summarized automatically with AI / Article-Σ ™/ BuildR BOT™.

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