Learning to Forget

Even though few kids rate going to school as the highlight of the week, human beings are literally wired for learning. When our brains register information, the neurons in our brain cells make new connections called synapses. Consequently, fading recall is directly linked to the weakening of those synapses.

Intriguingly, this is not just a haphazard process. There is evidence that the brain has the means of actively removing less important information to leave space for communication with higher priority. There is considerable psychological research pointing to the likelihood that forgetting is an essential part of the whole process of remembering. Forgetting frees up synapses to make new connections. Perhaps that explains why children are better learners than most adults. Their brains are not already clogged up by so many connections and so there are more unused potential synapse connectors available to the younger brain.

But if this doesn’t seem interesting, forget it and leave space for something else.

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