Sunday, June 10, 2007

Forgetfulness Helps the Brain

SOURCE: New Scientist

A note to the forgetful: be thankful you don’t remember everything. It means your brain is working properly.

According to a new study, the brain only chooses to remember memories it thinks are most relevant, and actively suppresses those that are similar but less used, helping to lessen the cognitive load and prevent confusion.

Brice Kuhl at Stanford University in California, US, and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the brain activity of 20 healthy adults while they performed a simple memory test. Participants were given three words pairs to memorise, including two pairs that were closely associated, as follows:

* ATTIC dust
* ATTIC junk
* MOVIE reel

After studying "ATTIC dust" a second time, subjects were asked to recall all three pairs using the first words as cues. On average, people were 15% worse at recalling "ATTIC junk" than they were at recalling the unrelated pair, "MOVIE reel".


No comments: