How our brains work to erase bad memories
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of NBC News
Posted: October 30th, 2012
Researchers [have] found that we use two different ways -- suppression or substitution -- to avoid thinking of uncomfortable or unhappy memories. We assume that, in everyday life, healthy people will use a mixture of both mechanisms to prevent an unwanted memory from coming to mind, says Roland Benoit, a scientist at the Medical Research Council, Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at University of Cambridge. While both processes cause forgetting, a different region of the brain controls each one. Even though people exploit both to forget those nagging, unwanted memories, actively overlooking unpleasant events can negatively impact how we remember. But Benoit notes that learning how people deal with unwanted memories helps them understand how people with traumatic memories, such as PTSD sufferers, cope with remembering.