14. Forgetting Is Programmed In

Forgetting things seems to be such a problem. At best it is annoying (“Where did I put my keys?”), and at worst it can send the wrong people to prison with inaccurate eyewitness testimonies. How could something so maladaptive have developed in humans? Why are we so flawed?

It’s actually not a flaw. Think about all the sensory inputs and experiences you have every minute, every day, every year, and through your lifetime. If you remembered every single thing, you’d be unable to function. You have to forget some things. Your brain is constantly deciding what to remember and what to forget. It doesn’t always make decisions that you find helpful, but in general, the decisions it makes (primarily unconsciously) are keeping ...

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