Filtering Information Improves Your Memory

If you keep forgetting where you put your car keys, don't blame it on a "senior moment" or a lack of intelligence. Finding those keys may depend on how quickly your brain filters out irrelevant information, according to a new study.

What matters isn't the size of your memory, which is strongly connected to intelligence. It's your visual working memory in synch with neural mechanisms in your brain that filters the important information from the irrelevant, researchers said.

This finding was quickly proven in experiments in which scientists recorded the brain activity of patients who were asked to recall specific shapes and colors -- remember two and forget two others -- while performing computer tasks. Without fail, patients possessing low capacity visual working memory remembered all the shapes and sizes researchers mentioned. Those with a better memory, however, dismissed the "unimportant" information scientists asked them to forget.

How well your memory performs has everything to do with making healthier lifestyle choices, so here's a few to help you get started:

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