Contrary to popular belief, forgetful people may actually be more intelligent than those with impeccable memories.
Research conducted by the University of Toronto in Canada and published in the journal Neuron found that not remembering trivial details might be a sign that your brain is better at separating the important from the unimportant.
Apparently, the growth of new neurons in the hippocampus — the part of our brain associated with memory — seemed to promote forgetting, doing away with useless things in order to make room for more important information. In fact, they found that people who remember things tend to have a difficult time making important decisions.
Professor Blake Richards, lead author on the study, stated:
“We always idealize the person who can smash a trivia game, but the point of memory is not being able to remember who won the Stanley Cup in 1972. The point of memory is to make you an intelligent person who can make decisions given the circumstances, and an important aspect in helping you do that is being able to forget some information.”
Those minds capable of overwriting old memories with new ones were also found to be able to quickly make decisions based on new information rather than old misleading memories.
With the Internet providing easy and instantaneous access to any and all information, who needs a photographic memory anyways? Well, how about the millions of students around the world still rote memorizing their way to a passing grade?
Either we change our education system, or having an impeccable memory is the closest thing most of us will have to a superpower, a useful superpower.