Hand in Heart: Have you ever Googled for the first signs of dementia? Perhaps you haven’t remembered a name a few times recently, or you’ve searched for your key a few times. And there was already, the worry that your memory might actually be insulting.
Anyway, I’ve felt this way a few times. Although I didn’t need packing lists or shopping when I was a student, now I go through my jacket pockets every time I look at a note because I instantly forget where I put it. New names often disappear before I say goodbye to the person. Is this really a disease or is it a matter of regular fluctuations in mental performance?
Neurobiologist Martin Kurti of TU Braunschweig can reassure me: Forgetting is an important function of the brain, as he wrote in the cover story from page 12. If our memory were to store any input, it would be hopelessly overwhelmed. By the way, increased dizziness in old age has nothing to do with memory decline, but rather a consequence of increased distractibility. In his article, Korte explains what constitutes a healthy memory and where it naturally reaches its limits.
The fact that we can even judge the strengths and weaknesses of our memory is thanks to our meta-memory, as Monica Ohndorf of the University of Mannheim explained in the second part of the topic title. However, we make mistakes here that hinder us in learning. The psychologist describes how to achieve more realistic self-evaluations from page 22.