With the help of neuroimaging, researchers at University of Texas at Austin conclude that forgetting about something uses more brain power than trying to remember it.
The discovery was released in the Journal of Neuroscience. It explains that to forget about an unpleasant/unwanted experience, more attention should be given to it. The finding goes beyond before research on intentional forgetting that concentrated on decreasing focus to the non-essential information with the help of diverting focus away from the unwanted experiences or repressing memory’s retrieval.
Jarrod Lewis-Peacock Explains the Science Behind it
Senior author of the research, Jarrod Lewis-Peacock, states that human beings wish to reject memories that stimulate maladaptive responses, such as bad memories, so that they can respond to new memories in more flexible methods. Years of study have demonstrated that we have the strength to deliberately forget something. However, the question is how our brains are able to do that. The moment researchers can understand methods to weaken memories & come up with methods to handle the same, they can develop treatment to assist individuals in discarding traumatic memories.
Memories are flexible. They are dynamic makeups of the brain which gets updated on a daily basis, alters & reorganizes due to experiences. Our brain is forever remembering & forgetting data. Maximum of this takes place on its own when we are sleeping.
Talking about deliberate forgetting, research conducted in the past concentrated on finding hotspot of activity in control structures of the brain, like prefrontal cortex, long-term memory structures like the hippocampus. However, the latest research concentrates on perceptual & sensory locations of the brain, particularly ventral temporal cortex. Also, it concentrates on patters of activity there that relate to memory representations of complicated visual stimuli.
Jarrod explained that they are not focusing on attention’s source in the brain, but the sight of it. With the help of neuroimaging to keep an eye on brain activity’s patterns, team of researchers demonstrated a team of healthy adults, pictures of faces & scenes, asking them to either remember or forget every single photo.
Their outcomes not just validated that individuals have the power to control what information they forget but deliberate forgetting also demanded average levels of brain activity in these perceptual & sensory areas. It means that more activity than what was needed to remember.
They also discovered that humans were more likely to forget surroundings as compared to faces. It has the ability to carry more emotional information. The researchers are still working on it and trying to develop a method to get rid of painful and unwanted memories.