Neuroscientists Did Not Say Your Forgetfulness Is A Sign Of Extraordinary Intelligence

Publisher’s Note:

This article was initially published with a headline: “Scientists confirm: Being forgetful is a sign of very high intelligence”, which was a misleading and exaggerated claim that did not actually reveal the true findings of the actual scientific paper.

In fact, scientists say nothing about the relationship between forgetfulness and intelligence, but that the brain erases outdated information from memory as its strategy to make more intelligent decisions, as we state in the updated version of the article below.

Therefore, we erased false data and corrected the content of the article, so the new, updated version contains accurate information only.


Everyone occasionally forgets something. It can be something like leaving your umbrella at home or an address that disappears from your brain. It’s often difficult to keep track of all the passwords we need to remember today. We’ve all probably tried various memory exercises and tricks over the years to improve our memory, but it rarely works. Maybe accepting that you’re a little forgetful and probably good at something else is just fair.

We found some interesting research, however, some time ago, about forgetfulness and decision-making. According to researchers, the brain may erase or forget outdated information from memory as its strategy to make more intelligent decisions.

The scientific article’s, “The Persistence and Transience of Memory” summary reads:

“The predominant focus in the neurobiological study of memory has been on remembering (persistence). However, recent studies have considered the neurobiology of forgetting (transience). Here we draw parallels between neurobiological and computational mechanisms underlying transience. We propose that it is the interaction between persistence and transience that allows for intelligent decision-making in dynamic, noisy environments. Specifically, we argue that transience (1) enhances flexibility, by reducing the influence of outdated information on memory-guided decision-making, and (2) prevents overfitting to specific past events, thereby promoting generalization. According to this view, the goal of memory is not the transmission of information through time, per se. Rather, the goal of memory is to optimize decision-making. As such, transience is as important as persistence in mnemonic systems.”

The scientists do not claim that forgetfulness is linked to super intelligence, but the brain may use it as a strategy to purge itself of useless or outdated information. This may help our brains learn new things.

This research indicates that forgetfulness may actually be helpful, so don’t stress too much over the small stuff.

Makes sense, when you think about it!

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