Is it possible to remember too much information ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Allan Ajifo
With all the information we take in on a daily basis is it possible for the brain to run out of space ?
On the face of it our brains would seem to be capable of storing a practically limitless amount of information including our memories, the skills we have learned and all of our general knowledge.
According to scientists however it isn't possible for the brain to reach maximum capacity because it will sometimes start to forget things in order to learn new information.
It certainly makes sense to be able to forget things as there is a lot that we remember that ultimately proves useless. In the case of receiving a new PIN number for your bank card for instance the memory of the old number will slowly disappear in favor of remembering the new one.
Sometimes old memories can even prove to be a nuisance such as in the case of trying to recall where you parked your car and mixing it up with the memory of parking it on a previous day.
Not everyone is able to take the ability to forget things for granted however.
Hyperthymestic syndrome, which enables someone to recall just about everything that ever happened to them in perfect detail, might at first glance sound like a blessing, but many sufferers tend to have difficulty concentrating on the present or future because their minds are swimming with a practically limitless supply of past memories that they are unable to let go of.
At the other end of the spectrum there are also those who can barely remember anything at all and even have problems recalling things that happened to them only a few minutes earlier.
Ultimately though it is the balance between remembering and forgetting that enables us to manage what we keep in our heads and to continue to function effectively in our everyday lives.
Source: The Conversation | Comments (35)
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