Tag: forgetting

Ever Enter a Room & Forget Why You Went There? Blame The Doorway.

By Douglas Main | November 22, 2011 11:35 am

New research suggests the mere act of walking through a doorway helps people forget, which could explain many millions of confusing moments that happen each day around the world. A study published recently in The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology found that participants who walked through doorways in a virtual reality environment were significantly more likely to forget memories formed in another room, compared with those who traveled the same distance but crossed no thresholds.

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How the Brain Makes Space for New Memories: By Erasing a Few Old Ones

By Smriti Rao | February 23, 2010 5:55 pm

fruit-flyForgetting an umbrella or the location of a parking spot may be annoying, but scientists have suggested that for healthy brains to function well, they need to forget. By forgetting, scientists say, the brain makes space for new memories. In an intriguing breakthrough, researchers from the United States and China have identified the protein responsible for forgetting in fruit flies. By tweaking a  protein called Rac, researchers were able to speed up and slow down the erasure of painful memories [New Scientist]. The findings were published in the journal Cell.

Scientists have been unable to pinpoint why people forget. Some have suggested that new memories are ephemeral and vanish over time, while others thought that interference caused earlier short-term memories to be overridden as new information comes in [Science Daily]. While both of these notions seem to suggest that forgetting is a passive mechanism, the new study suggests that forgetting is far more active, and that Rac works to inhibit the formation of more long-term memories.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain

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