WASHINGTON (Circa) — A study from journal Neuron shows being forgetful makes you much more smarter in your decision-making.
Researchers Paul Frankland and Blake Richards from the University of Toledo say that the goal of memory isn't about transmitting the most accurate information. It is more important to hold on to what makes more sense while letting go of what you don't need to know.
"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," Richards told CNN. "We all admire the person who can smash Trivial Pursuit or win at Jeopardy, but the fact is that evolution shaped our memory not to win a trivia game, but to make intelligent decisions."
The researchers believe that swapping old memories out for new ones helps you adapt to situations easier because you're not keeping outdated information that could be misleading.
"If you're trying to navigate the world and your brain is constantly bringing up conflicting memories, that makes it harder for you to make an informed decision," Richards said.
At the same time, you should still be alarmed if you're losing memory more than usual.
"You don't want to forget everything, and if you're forgetting a lot more than normal that might be cause for concern," Richards said. "But if you're someone who forgets the occasional detail, that's probably a sign that your memory system is perfectly healthy and doing exactly what it should be doing."