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Bow down before me, for I am your… hang on, it’ll come to me in a sec – I am your master. Because memory or something.
If I had a quid for every time I forgot something, I’d have a shitload of money. And now according to a study in the journal Neuron, folk like me display signs of superior intelligence because it shows our brains are more focused on more important things. Thanks, science.
The University of Toronto study claims having a strong memory is a severely overrated asset, concluding forgetfulness could be an benefit to your intelligence.
Assistant Professor Blake Richards said:
The real goal of memory is to optimize decision-making.
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 know that exercise increases the number of neurons in the hippocampus, but they’re exactly those details from your life that don’t actually matter, and that may be keeping you from making good decisions.
If only I knew that every time I look for my keys on the way to work. Tomorrow’s going to be a less stressful run to the train station.
Neurobiological research has previously focused on the cellular mechanisms in storing information – known as persistence – but less attention has been focused on those involved in forgetting – or transience. It has been assumed the inability to remember is due to a failure in the mechanisms involved in storing or recalling information.
Our brains spend energy both storing and forgetting information. The older information becomes less useful as the world develops around us.
If you’re trying to navigate the world and your brain is constantly bringing up multiple conflicting memories, that makes it harder for you to make an informed decision.
Pub quiz bores, your talents may not be so valuable as you think.
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.
But anyway, as we all know, the most important part of ruling a pub quiz and demonstrating your superior intellect is coming up with the wittiest team name.
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