Don’t be upset if you forgot something: the non-obvious benefits of information loss have been named
A group of scientists from Trinity College Dublin conducted a study that confirmed that the process of forgetting information plays an important role for humans and animals, especially in today’s rapidly changing world.
Photo: Openverse by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0
In experiments with mice, it was discovered that when new associations are formed, old memories are suppressed and forgotten. The researchers used optogenetics techniques to better understand the mechanisms behind this process. They discovered that certain groups of neurons, called engrams, play a key role in storing and forgetting memories.
Interestingly, the study also found that forgotten memories can be recovered naturally if animals have new experiences associated with those memories. The process has been compared to how memories are stored in a safe, but sometimes the code to open them is forgotten, Cell Reports reports.
The study’s findings highlight the importance of forgetting as a natural mechanism for learning and adapting to a changing environment. This process allows the brain to update information and adapt to new conditions.
Understanding these mechanisms could have significant implications for developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, which have problems storing and retrieving memories.