Aug 19, 2023

Neuroscientists successfully test theory that forgetting is actually a form of learning

Posted by in category: neuroscience

Neuroscientists today report the first results from experimental tests designed to explore the idea that “forgetting” might not be a bad thing, and that it may represent a form of learning—and outline results that support their core idea.

Last year the neuroscientists behind the new theory suggested that changes in our ability to access specific memories are based on environmental feedback and predictability. And that rather than being a bug, may be a functional feature of the brain, allowing it to interact dynamically with a dynamic environment.

In a changing world like the one we and many other organisms live in, forgetting some memories would be beneficial, they reasoned, as this can lead to more flexible behavior and better decision-making. If memories were gained in circumstances that are not wholly relevant to the current environment, forgetting them could be a positive change that improves our well-being.

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