Forgetting Needs More Effort than Remembering Something New- Research Says

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin found through neuro-imaging that more energy is needed by the brain for forgetting things as compared to the energy acquired for remembering something new.

These researches are published in the Journal of Neuroscience. According to the research a person needs to focus more so that he can easily forget an undesirable experience.

These astonishing outcomes are the extension of the earlier research on deliberately forgetting, which concentrated on reducing attention to the undesirable experience through diverting attention far from undesirable encounters or suppressing the memory’s recovery.

“We may want to discard memories that trigger maladaptive responses, such as traumatic memories so that we can respond to new experiences in more adaptive ways,” said Jarrod Lewis-Peacock, the study’s lead author and lecturer of psychology at UT Austin.

“Decades of research has shown that we have the ability to voluntarily forget something, but how our brains do that is still being questioned. Once we can figure out how memories are weakened and devise ways to control this, we can design treatment to help people rid themselves of unwanted memories.”

Memories are not classified as static but these are dynamic which on and off gets refreshed, altered and organized through daily events. The brain is continuously remembering and forgetting data—and quite a bit of this happens naturally amid rest.

With regards to deliberately forgetting, earlier examinations focused on finding “hotspots” of activity in the brain’s control parts, for example, the prefrontal cortex, and long haul memory parts, for example, the hippocampus.

This recent study focuses more on sensory and perceptual areas of the brain. This especially includes the ventral temporal cortex and the patterns of the activity which relates to memory portrayal of complex visual stimuli.

“We’re looking not at the source of attention in the brain, but the sight of it,” said Lewis-Peacock, who is also affiliated with the UT Austin Department of Neuroscience and the Dell Medical School.

The researchers used neuroimaging to follow the pattern of brain activity. The participants were shown different images of scenes and faces and were asked to either forget it remember it.

The results did not just affirm that people can control what they forget, yet that successful intentional forgetting required an amount of brain activity in the sensory and perceptual regions—more activity than what was required to remember.

“A moderate dimension of brain movement is basic to this forgetting instrument. Excessively solid, and it will reinforce the memory; excessively powerless, and you won’t adjust it,” said Tracy Wang, senior author of the research and a brain science postdoctoral individual at UT Austin.

“Essentially, it’s the expectation to forget that builds the initiation of the memory, and when this actuation hits the ‘moderate dimension’ sweet detect, that is the point at which it prompts later forgetting of that experience.”

The scientists likewise discovered that participants find more easy to forget scenes than faces, which convey significantly more emotional data, the analysts said.

“We’re learning how these mechanisms in our brain respond to different types of information, and it will take a lot of further research and replication of this work before we understand how to harness our ability to forget,” said Lewis-Peacock, who has begun a new study using neurofeedback to track how much attention is given to certain types of memories.

“This will make way for future studies on how we process, and hopefully get rid of, those really strong, sticky emotional memories, which can have a powerful impact on our health and well-being,” Lewis-Peacock said.

Adeena Tariq

Adeena's professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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