“Forgetting has a largely bad reputation,” says Dr. Roland Benoit, study leader and head of the Adaptive Memory Research Group at Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.
However, the scientists involved in this new study believe that active forgetting may be a helpful tool in preventing memories of bad experiences from continually plaguing us. They state that we can weaken our memories and even get rid of their neural traces in the brain by controlling our thoughts.
For now, it isn’t clear why some people forget more easily than others. According to the research team, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) tend to find it difficult to forget unpleasant memories and this isn’t the case for people without the conditions.
The researchers now insist that future studies must investigate whether and how deliberate forgetting contributes to mental health.
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