You might catch a lot of flack for being a forgetful person. Maybe it started with a birthday here and a dinner date there, until you began missing appointments left and right and searching the house high and low on a regular basis for items you misplaced. While others may not appreciate your forgetful nature, it turns out that you may be largely misunderstood. According to a recent study, being forgetful is actually a sign that you are unusually intelligent.
The study, published in the Neuron Journal, suggests that forgetting is actually a natural brain process that might actually make you smarter. People who have a great memory are often seen as intelligent, right? Well according to professors at the University of Toronto, having a perfect memory isn’t necessarily linked to intelligence.
The study found that forgetting a small detail here and there is perfectly normal, and remembering the big picture is better for your brain in the long run. Memories are stored in the hippocampus. This part of the brain also weeds out the most important details to remember, which helps us “optimize intelligent decision making by holding onto what’s important and letting go of what’s not.”
This could be the reason you often remember a person’s face, but not their name. The brain also retains new memories and overwrites old ones that aren’t seen as important. When the brain becomes too crowded, too much information can have negative effects on efficient decision-making.
Being forgetful all the time could be a sign that something’s wrong. But if little details slip your mind every once in a while, there’s probably nothing to worry about. More than likely, it’s just your brain doing its job. It’s clearing out old memories and minor details to make room for more important things.