Forgetting (7)

This web site is interested in forgetting only as it is related to common everyday lapses of memory, such as those that make us forget where we parked the car or left our keys. Unless they are of interest for other reasons, these pages do not present links related to the loss of memory in conditions like dementia. There are dozens of other web sites on that topic.

There are two approaches in the links to this category. One focuses on why and how we forget, and on the possibility that memories might be erased intentionally. This is related to the malleability and unreliability of memory discussed in links elsewhere on this site. The second deals with the value of forgetting, the importance of clearing out the mind.

Limits of memory retrieval allow us to live in the present

As much as we might sometimes wish otherwise, forgetting is a survival mechanism for most of us. It helps us go through daily life and keeps us from losing complete control of the circumstances around us.

To remember, the brain must actively forget

If this research is getting close to the truth, forgetting is even more important that we thought. Instead of being a defect in our memory, it seems to be a necessary part of our mental make-up, the default setting for our brains.

How to erase bad memories

A look at how neuroscience is taking advantage of the way we store, retrieve, and  use memories.

How do people lose their memories?

An overview of the neurological basis of amnesia.

Memory erasure

Forgetting is a natural, even indispensable, part of remembering. We can’t hold everything in our heads, and parts of our brains need to be cleared out if we are to remember the things we will need later.

Memory, forgetting and Propranolol: Should some experiences never be recalled?

Some memories jolt us so much that we want to forget them. According to the article, there’s a drug for that.


Henry Molaison: The incredible story of the man with no memory

An article about the most famous, and most studied, amnesiac of the 20th century, whose conditions resulted from the catastrophic failure of an experimental procedure to cure his epilepsy. This involved removing parts of the brain, including the memory circuits in the temporal lobe, plus the left and right amygdala, but it left the subject in a permanent state of amnesia. Still, it’s amazing to see what he did remember.

Researchers claim memories can be ‘rewritten’

If this becomes widespread, we will be able to consciously get rid of the parts of the past we don’t like.

Scientists target and block a specific memory

It takes time for memories to move from short-term storage in the brain to long-term storage. This research used a drug to intercept a memory before it had time to solidify. Interesting, even frightening, implications for human application.

The persistence and transience of memory

A lengthy, highly technical study contending that the purpose of memory is not to transmit information about the past, but to guide intelligent decision-making. Forgetting is not seen as a failure of memory but one device toward this goal.