We all have that moment… trying to remember the name of the person we are talking to. It may be on the tip of our tongue, but we just can’t recall it. Studies show that forgetting not only enables the brain to conserve energy, it also strengthens our short-term memory and recollection of important details.
Scientists at Stanford University asked students to study word pairs, and to memorize a small part of the list. The students were asked to retain some parts, and mentally reject others. MRI scans then tested the students to see how well they had learned all the pairs. Those students who could most often remember the pairs from the list were also the worst at recalling the rest… suggesting they did a better job at unconsciously filtering out unwanted memories. These findings suggest that suppressing some memories may help to improve brain efficiency and conserve energy, indicating that efficient brains think faster.
So, the next time you can’t recall someone’s name, don’t feel bad… it may just be your brain doing its job…..The Scientific American Day in the Life of Your Brain Judith Horstman