We all worry about forgetting things, but it turns out that forgetting can actually make us smarter and our brains are designed to promote memory loss under certain circumstances! Even neuroscientists used to believe that our inability to remember something was an indication of the brain’s failure to store and retrieve information. However, Paul Frankland, a senior fellow in CIFAR’s Child and Brain Development program, and Blake Richards, an associate fellow in the Learning in Machines and Brains program, have reviewed research indicating that our brains actively work to forget. They say that the goal of memory is not to transmit the most accurate information over time, but to guide and optimize intelligent decision making by only holding on to valuable information.
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