Science Says Forgetfulness Means You’re Smart

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If you suffer from forgetfulness, I have exciting news for you! Science says you are one smart cookie.

You should call up everyone who has ever made fun of you for being forgetful and tell them the good news. (Assuming you remember who they were and how to reach them!)

Turns out, the joke’s on them. Having a little problem with forgetting things from time to time might actually make you a more intelligent decision maker.

By that measure, I can say with confidence that I am the most intelligent person in my entire family.

Science Says Forgetfulness Means You're Smart


It’s definitely something that gets the best of me sometimes. My family would be happy to verify that. I don’t necessarily forget to do things, like get to an appointment on time. But, I’m notorious for forgetting names.

I try repeating a person’s name right away as a method to hopefully remember. Even then, the chances of me remembering are slim to none. It’s so embarrassing to meet someone whose name you should know, but you can’t quite recall it.

Do you forget things a lot?

Harmless Forgetfulness

Here are some types of forgetfulness that are super common and normal. These are the types of memory lapses that the researchers in this study were looking at.

Forgetting what day it is – so long as you remember it later.
Forgetting names.
Periodically struggling to find the right word.
Losing things from time to time.
Not remembering details from TV shows, movies or books.
Not recalling all the details in a conversation.

Science Says Forgetfulness Means You're Smart

What Science Says About Forgetfulness

“The real goal of memory is to optimize decision-making,” said Assistant Professor Blake Richards of the U of T Scarborough.

“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.”

A decision about whether to whip up Dorito Chicken Tenders or Cheeseburger Soup for supper shouldn’t require my brain to run through every thought I’ve ever had looking for an answer.

“If you’re trying to navigate the world and your brain is constantly bringing up multiple conflicting memories, that makes it harder for you to make an informed decision,” said Richards

People who forget things once in a while are great at prioritizing key information. In other words, you can make a decision quickly because your brain is only looking at the most pertinent information.

Here’s your next decision.

We’ll see just how good these researchers are. If you’re forgetful you should be able to make a quick decision.

Would you rather eat some German Chocolate Cheesecake Bars or Lemon Blueberry Sweet Rolls?

It’s almost an impossible choice.

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