I had a great title in mind, but I forgot
My memory is terrible. I have forgotten my suitcase in the trunk of a cab. I have left glasses in the seat pocket of an airplane. I have forgotten the names of my children when discussing them with a friend. I have spoken with our new neighbors probably a dozen times over the three months since we moved in and I still can’t remember if they are Jeff and Lisa, Jennifer and Larry, or Paul and Pauline
My wife proposes this is because I am an inattentive dunderhead, which is probably true. However, this commentary that Olson Zaltman's Nick Kimminau discovered suggests that perhaps my brain is just highly evolved.
The author – Tania Lombrozo, psych professor at Cal-Berkeley – describes the value of forgetting.
For one thing, people tend to remember events that cast them in a positive light – so it’s probably emotionally healthy to forget certain things. Moreover, we would go nuts if we remembered too much.
Also, remembering can get in the way of real learning. As she writes, you probably don’t remember the first time you learned about penguins, but you certainly know that penguins are birds, and you can access that information without sifting through the baggage of who taught you that fact, where you were when you learned it, etc.
There are market research implications here – one must be careful about asking people to accurate remember the minutiae of their lives. How many times have you purchased laundry detergent in the last year? That’s a common kind of market research question. I feel somewhat blessed that I don’t know the answer.