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Scientists try to figure out why we can't recall things we see everyday

Written by Admin |Published : November 27, 2012 2:17 PM IST

We often say 'out of sight is out of mind' but it could be the other way round too. According to a new psychological study, people often do not recall things they have seen or at least walked by a hundred times. "Just because we've seen something many times doesn't mean we remember it or even notice it," said Alan Castel, associate professor of psychology at University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), who led the study.Castel said that not noticing things isn't necessarily bad, particularly when those things are not important in your daily life. "It might be a good thing not to burden your memory with information that is not relevant to you," he said.

For instance, 54 people who work in the same building were asked if they knew the location of the bright fire extinguisher nearest their office. Surprisingly only 13 or 24 percent of the group knew the location, the journal Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics reported. A few months after being asked the location of the nearest fire extinguisher, the participants were asked again if they knew where the closest one was. All of them knew, according to an UCLA statement.

Does this tell us about the importance of training, whether for emergencies or something as common as learning a new computer programme? Castel stresses that making errors during training is useful.

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"It's good if errors happen during training and not during an event where you need the information," he said. "That's part of the learning process." The researchers found no significant differences between men and women, or between older and younger adults. But with safety information, such as knowing where fire extinguishers are or what to do in an emergency, being prepared can, of course, be very useful.

Source: IANS

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