New Scientific Research Looks at Why Humans Forget Stuff
By Elizabeth Fish
The next time you’re told some important information, you might want to write it down. Or at least, that’s what German scientists would advise. Researchers from University of Göttingen and the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience have found that human brains actually forget information at a “surprisingly high” rate.
How high? Try one-bit-per-active-neuron-per-second high.
Looking at the processes of neurons in the brain, the scientists discovered that processes in the cerebral cortex are extremely chaotic, particularly when information enters the brain (known as a spike). Scientists originally believed that these spikes cause the electrically charged neurons to become active. (Neurons all work together to get the information from one neuron to another.)
Now, researchers have reason to believe an additional electric force acts on the cell membrane to make the neuron active. Thanks to this discovery, scientists could then answer the question of how long it takes for a human brain to forget things. Moreover, they may have to take a fresh look at how the cerebral cortex works.
So, as head of the research Fred Wolf points out, this means we can forget information just as quickly as we can gain it. So don’t feel too hard on yourself next time you forget to pick up the milk–blame your brain neurons.