It has been always considered that a sharp memory is a matter of one’s capacity to store more information in their brain. Now scientists believe that the main role in this process comes down to an individual’s ability to concentrate and filter out the unnecessary information.

Scientists conducted an experiment with a group of volunteers. They were asked to memorize red objects in pictures, without paying attention to the objects of other colors. During the experiment, the brain activity of the subjects was recorded. As a result, the participants who showed the best scores were those who had a better ability to ignore unnecessary information.

Thus, scientists came to the conclusion that visual memory skills don’t depend on the ability of the human brain to remember more information but on its ability to approach this information selectively. In other words, people with strong ‘spam filters’ in their brains do much better at memorizing and retaining information.

It makes sense because being able to distinguish between what is important and what is not is the key to a true understanding of what you are reading. Students know this better than anyone. For example, if you are given a 700-page textbook to read for an exam, you can be sure that most of it will be just context and you will need to filter it out and focus on the essence. It requires a certain degree of effort and concentration.

At the same time, researchers believe that people who struggle to filter out the redundant information can be more creatively gifted since their brains store various kinds of information.

Oftentimes, creative minds focus on seemingly irrelevant things, but in reality, they just have a different perception. Thanks to this way of thinking, creative people can find connections between unrelated things and make something beautiful out of it.

Anna LeMind, B.A.

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