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Memory in the Brain

January 3, 2012

Although most people think of memory as a vault for storing information, it is more like a seamstress who stitches together logical threads into scenes that make sense. In this view, a good memory is therefore not one that holds lots of data but that can deftly separate what is useful from what could distract or upset you. Getting rid of what is not necessary—forgetting—is thus an important part of memory and of thought. It is also critical to emotional wellbeing. Revisiting bad memories is hardly a formula for happiness, after all. Take this video tour of your brain to see the parts that help you remember and those that let you forget. For more on memory and forgetting, see Scientific American Mind’s special report on memory in January 2012.

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