Remembering information and using them in a proper way is the responsibility of the human brain. However, depending on the brain efficiency some people easily memorize information, while others face difficulties to remember them.
Forgetting things like dates, birthdays, names of people, and so on happens to everyone on different levels, but scientists claim that it is a normal process in the functioning of the brain. This is a necessary process from the brain to forget unimportant information as it needs enough space that allows it to make the right decisions.
The scientists Paul Frankland and Blake Richards from the University of Toronto conducted research, which results showed that these minor brain lapses are completely normal because the old memories in the brain can be “overwritten” by new ones.
According to their findings, people with a better memory are not necessarily more intelligent, claiming that in most of the cases forgetting tiny facts than memorizing all details is very useful. The focus of this study is on remembering, and comparing neurobiological and computational mechanisms underlying impermanence.
Professor Richards emphasizes the importance of forgetting irrelevant details and instead he is focusing on the things that will help people in making decisions. The interaction between two processes, remembrance, or persistence, and transience helps in the process of thinking in dynamic, noisy environments and making a decision.
Researchers suggest that the real purpose of memory is to optimize decision-making and not the transmission of information. Consequently, by reducing the influence of outdated information on memory-guided decision-making, transience enhances flexibility, and prevents overfitting to specific past events, promoting generalization.
By filtering out the irrelevant details and focusing on things that contribute to intelligent decisions it is possible to optimize the decision-making. The importance of the transience is equal as persistence because “bad memory” can be a mechanism of the brain that aims at making space for relevant information. This process actually prevents energy waste by the brain due to remembering trivial information.
However, Professor Richards explains that in case people forget large segments of important information they need to seek medical help. Forgetting some details occasionally should not be a concern, as the memory system is healthy and does what it should be doing.
In fact, scientists confirm that the brain erases outdated information from memory as its strategy to make more intelligent decisions, which explains the link between forgetfulness and intelligence.