Science Says Forgetting Things Actually Means You’re More Intelligent

When I was younger, my mom used to tell everyone I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached to my body. While it’s not the best reputation to have, I often times find myself being super forgetful about little things in my life if I don’t set reminders or write them down. If someone asks me to do something, if I don’t tackle it right away, there’s a strong possibility I’ll forget. It’s not my fault, life throws a lot of things at me on a day-to-day basis and I can’t be responsible for remembering every tiny detail of every conversation I’ve ever had. God, come on now, it’s normal to forget things…right?

For most people, being forgetful is a way of life. We don’t forget the big things like going to work, going to school, that we’re in a relationship or have responsibilities. But, we do forget other things like calling our Grandmother on her birthday, eating lunch, or that last bit of homework we had due. And, apparently, it’s not such a bad thing that we forget. In fact, science claims it shows that we may be just a bit more intelligent than we thought.

According to a new study conducted by two researchers at The University of Toronto, memory plays a pretty important role in intelligence and decision making. The researchers concluded that the memory’s goal is not to remember everything we’ve been told or everything we’ve learned. But, instead, it’s to optimize decision making.

So, you may forget to get your friend a birthday gift because you totally forgot it was her birthday, but that doesn’t necessarily make you stupid. In fact, it’s just your brain’s way of establishing what information is important to store in your mind.

According to Paul Frankland, one of the researchers on the study:

“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.”

According to the study, knowing what to forget it just as important as knowing what to remember. When the brain is working properly, it discards of information that isn’t “as important” or a priority to store. So, it may seem like your friends or your Grandmother doesn’t matter when you forget to call them, but, it doesn’t necessarily mean that. Instead, it’s more about storing things that will help you in the long run.

Richards claims:

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.”

So you won’t remember every single detail of your life, like the song that was playing when you had your first kiss or the dress you were wearing when you met your boyfriend, but, it’s not entirely a problem. In fact, the scientists say that your brain is better off losing the tiny details.

There will be times when you really want to remember something, but can’t find the details in your mind. And, if it’s a specific event or memory, it’s mainly because your brain has been wired to focus on the “bigger picture” of what happened, and not so much on the nitty-gritty details. So you can’t remember what you ordered on your first date with your husband, but you remember enjoying yourself enough to marry him and fall in love – that’s more romantic if you ask me.