Forgetting is actually a form of learning, according to a study

Photo credit: Unsplash+

We’ve all forgotten where we left our keys or someone’s name.

But what if forgetting is not just an inconvenience, but a sign that our brain is functioning properly?

Recent studies suggest that the act of forgetting may be our brain’s way of sifting through information and making sure we remember what’s really important.

Forgetting: A sign your brain is adjusting

Our brain is a busy place. It processes countless amounts of information every day. From the conversations we overhear to the names of new colleagues, it’s constantly recording data.

However, not all of this data is strictly necessary. Some of this may be relevant today, but not tomorrow. For example, if you learned how to navigate a new city while on vacation, you may not need that knowledge at home.

This is where oblivion comes in. Instead of being a bug in our system, it could be a feature, a built-in tool to declutter our minds and make room for more relevant information.

Memory research in mice: what have we learned?

The researchers wanted to see this theory in practice, so they turned to mice. Mice are often used in studies because their brains function in many ways like ours. Here’s what they did:

teach mice: The scientists showed mice certain objects in certain rooms. It was like teaching the mice, “Hey, remember this toy? It belongs in this room.”

Introduce distractions: After the mice figured out where things belong, the researchers introduced new toys and shuffled things around. This confused the mice and caused them to forget their first lessons.

Find Forgotten Memories: Next came the real magic. The scientists found a way to “remind” the mice of the initial pairing of the toy and the room.

When they did, the mice suddenly remembered! It was as if the memories were never lost, just hidden in a corner of her mind.

dr Tomas Ryan, the lead researcher, explained it this way: Imagine you have a toy in a toy box but forget which box. The toy is not lost; You just don’t know where it is. With a little help, you can find it again.

dr Livia Autore, another researcher on the team, added that our surroundings and experiences continuously shape our memories. Think of it as adding more and more toys to the toy box.

Over time you might forget where you put the first toys because the box is always full. But with the right clues, like maybe a photo of the toy, you can remember where it is.

What does this mean for us?

This study is more than just an interesting tidbit about mice. It tells us a lot about how our brain works. If mice can “remember in order to forget” and then recall forgotten memories, it’s likely that our brains are doing the same.

We’re always learning, and as we do, our brain decides what’s worth holding on to and what can be put aside.

In addition, this study could have broader implications for understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s often forget everyday things, but these findings offer a glimmer of hope.

Maybe, like mice, their memories aren’t really gone, just harder to access. If scientists can figure out how to “jog” these memories, it could be a breakthrough in treating the disease.


Our brain is a fascinating organ that is constantly changing and adapting. Forgetting can be frustrating, especially when we’re looking for our keys, but it’s a sign that our brains are working, sorting, and organizing.

So next time you forget something small, give yourself a break. Your brain just does its job. And who knows? With the right hint, that forgotten memory could just come back.

If you care about the health of your brain, please read studies about it how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, And Blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline.

For more information on brain health, see recent studies on it Antioxidants, which could help reduce the risk of dementiaAnd Coconut oil may help improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.

The study was published in cell reports.

follow us on Twitter for more articles on this topic.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.

Laura Coffey

Laura Coffey is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Laura Coffey joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button