The more you know, the harder it may be to remember some things. In a study conducted by Ohio University Ohio State University researchers, adults had better recall of pictures of imaginary bugs than familiar animals like cats. Why? When we categorize people and objects, it lowers our ability to remember individual differences between them. In the first experiment, adults and children were shown pictures of animals such as cats, bears, and birds, and later asked to identify which pictures they had seen before. The younger the child, the better he or she did. In a second experiment, the real animals were swapped for imaginary creatures. From OSU Research News:
...In this new experiment, adults were shown three different types of imaginary, insect-like creatures that (cognitive science professor Vladimir) Sloutsky calls "ziblets." In this experiment, adults performed as well as children did in the first study in remembering which ziblets they had seen before without having many "false positives."
The difference here was that the adults had no previous knowledge that allowed them to easily categorize the ziblets without paying close attention to each picture.
"They remembered them because they had to pay close attention," Sloutsky said. "They remembered the details."
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