Oh, man. It’s not enough that I have to worry about clutter in my house. Now I have to worry about clutter in my brain.
According to a study done at Georgia Institute of Technology, older people lack confidence in what they remember because their brains have absorbed not only what they focused on but also non-essential info, i.e., clutter-what other conversations were taking place around them, what music was playing.
Younger folks apparently don’t have this problem. Their brains don’t store the irrelevant details in the first place.
The researchers point out that this can be particularly problematic for seniors if someone tries to scam them. They can be convinced they have forgotten something that never took place.
I feel a little ambivalent about all of this. As a writer, I would think that the ability, albeit unconscious, to note more details would be an advantage, not a detriment. Is this a function purely of having lived longer and having more backstory to connect new material to? Do we become less sure of everything as we age just because we’re increasingly aware of how little we really know?