We generally associate intelligence with straight A report cards, acing the SATs or ACTs, or even certain professions like doctors or engineers.
Forgetfulness is probably one of the last things that comes to mind when we consider what makes a person intelligent, but apparently, it's also on the list.
Professors at the University of Toronto "found that forgetting the occasional detail is normal" and that "remembering the big picture as opposed to little details is better for your brain and your safety, in the long run."
Our memories are stored in the hippocampus inside our brains, but it "weeds out the most important details" which allows us to focus on the most important parts and forget about the rest.
For instance, Little Things explains that while remembering a name and a face may be important in social settings, remembering a dangerous face could save our life, whereas holding onto a name would be less helpful.
Additionally, too many memories can make our brains less efficient, so instead of holding onto all of them, it keeps fresher memories while "overwriting" old ones.
Nowadays, we don't have to remember as much because technology makes it easy to seek out needed information. Rather than trying to retain a detailed knowledge of everything, we can remember the general idea, and let Google or YouTube how-to videos fill in the blanks as necessary.
While forgetting or overlooking minor details is OK and normal, forgetting everything isn't. If you have severe memory problems, you may want to consult a medical professional to find out what's actually going on with your health or neurologically.
Other circumstances can cause us to be forgetful such as too much stress, inadequate sleep, poor diet, substance abuse or lack of organization. With all the technology available, we have many apps to choose from that can set reminders about appointments, make our grocery lists, or even give us new vocabulary or brain teasers and memory activities to exercise our brains.
Forgetting occasional things or not recalling parts of the past is just our brains doing their jobs. So the next time you forget something, just know your brain was working to free up space to perform more efficiently for when you really need it. And, you most likely are smarter than you know!