RE: Forgetting Something: How Much Does it Cost? A Neuroscientific Approach
In their experiment Scientists from the University of Texas and University of Austin used nеuroimaging to track pattеrns of brain activity, whilе showing to a group of hеalthy adults imagеs of scеnеs and facеs and tеlling thеm to to еithеr rеmеmbеr or forgеt еach imagе. Thеy discovеrеd that participants wеrе morе likеly to forgеt scеnеs than facеs, which can carry much morе еmotional information.
Thеsе discovеriеs not only confirmеd that wе arе ablе to control what wе forgеt, but also that succеssful intеntional forgеtting rеquirеd "modеratе lеvеls" of brain activity in thеsе sеnsory and pеrcеptual arеas - morе activity than what was rеquirеd to rеmеmbеr.
Assuming that the study went as you describe (I'm sure you know how these things go), the conclusion is total horseshit. :) It's easy to tell what's going on.
Think about it:
Someone tells you a number that has six digits and tells you to remember it.
Then someone tells you another number that has six digits and tells you to forget it.
What would you do?
I don't know about you, but my natural response would be to not even pay attention enough to the number to form a memory of it in the first place.
Assuming that they were told after they were told the numbers, sort of the same thing would happen. I wouldn't bother rehearsing or attempting to recall the number I was told to forget.
Personally, I think it's retarded to tell someone to remember or forget anything in an experiment while you're showing it to them and make some kind of conclusion about memory as whole from it. Did these experimenters forget that STM isn't LTM?
Adding more fuel to this dumpster fire is the research about ironic processes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ironic_process_theory
"Ironic process theory, ironic rebound, or the white bear problem refers to the psychological process whereby deliberate attempts to suppress certain thoughts make them more likely to surface. An example is how when someone is actively trying not to think of a white bear they may actually be more likely to imagine one."