Do you get a little panicked and worry your mind is going every time you can’t remember that item on your mental shopping list or where you put your keys? Well, forgetful folks can breathe a sigh of relief, because it turns out forgetting things may not be a sign of failing memory after all.
According to a recent study conducted by the University Of Toronto, forgetfulness could be a sign that your brain is functioning properly.
“We find plenty of evidence from recent research that there are mechanisms that promote memory loss, and that these are distinct from those involved in storing information,” co-author Paul Frankland, U of T associate professor and senior scientist of neurosciences and mental health at SickKids, said in a statement.
In other words, your brain is forgetting non-essential information to make storage capacity for what is actually essential.
And when you think about it, that makes a lot of sense since “the point of memory is not being able to remember who won the Stanley Cup in 1972,” according to the statement.
The actual function of memory is much more important.
“The real goal of memory is to optimize decision-making,” U of T Scarborough Assistant Professor Blake Richards, the author of the new review study, said in the statement. “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.”
See! Much more practical than winning at trivia.
At any given time, you’re storing a lot of information in that head of yours, so forgetfulness and name slips are just par for the course rather than cause for concern, for the most part.
According to an October 2016 study published in “Memory & Cognition,” even calling your child by the wrong name is totally normal. (Again, a sigh of relief!)
“As you are preparing to produce the utterance, you’re activating not just their name, but competing names,” Neil Mulligan, Ph.D, a psychology professor and cognitive scientist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told NPR. “You flick through the names of all your other children, stored in the family folder, and sometimes these competing names win.”
Slips of the tongue, forgetfulness, it’s all normal and even healthy.
So, if you’re known as the “forgetful” one… go ahead and forward this article to all of your friends!