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The Wright brothers invented the airplane after learning from the mistakes of people in the past. They created the fundamentals of the kind of plane we use today. Let's see what makes up today's co...
When learning about memory, don't forget to remember Hermann Ebbinghaus! He was the first person to do scientific studies of forgetting. Hermann used himself as a subject, spending vast amounts of time trying to memorize endless lists of nonsense syllables and testing his memory on them. He found that he forgot most of what he learned during the first few hours of learning it.
But of course today, we know that
meaningful information fades more slowly than
nonsense syllables. The rate at which people forget or retain
information also depends on what method is used to measure
forgetting and remembering.
Retention is the proportion of learned information that is retained or remembered - the flip side of forgetting. In other words, how much you remember.
Measuring Memory: Recall,
Recall is remembering without any external cues. For example, essay questions test recall of knowledge because nothing on a blank sheet of paper will jog the memory.
Recognition is identifying learned
information using external cues. For example, multiple-choice
questions test recognition because the previously learned
information is there on the page, along with other options. In
general, recognition is easier than recall.
When using the relearning method to
measure retention, a researcher might ask a subject to memorize a
long grocery list. She might measure how long he has to practice
before he remembers every item. Suppose it takes him ten minutes.
On another day, she gives him the same list again and measures how
much time he takes to relearn the list. Suppose he now learns it in
five minutes. He has saved five minutes of learning time, or 50
percent of the original time it took him to learn it. His savings
score of 50 percent indicates that he retained 50 percent of the
information he learned the first time.
Causes of Forgetting
Everyone forgets things. There are six main reasons for forgetting: ineffective encoding, decay, interference, retrieval failure, motivated forgetting, and physical injury or trauma.
The way information is encoded affects the
ability to remember it. Processing information at a deeper
level makes it harder to forget. If the information is not encoded
properlyâ€"such as if the student simply skims over the textbook
while paying more attention to the TV-it is more likely to be
According to decay theory, memory fades with time. Decay explains the loss of memories from sensory and short-term memory. People might easily remember their first day in junior high school but completely forget what they learned in class last Tuesday.
Interference theory has a better
account of why people lose long-term memory. According to this
theory, people forget information because of interference from
other information they've learned. There are two types of
interference: retroactive and proactive.
Retroactive interference: happens when newly learned information makes people forget old information.
Proactive interference happens when old information makes people forget newly learned information.
Forgetting may also result from failure to retrieve information in memory, if the wrong sort of retrieval cue is used. For example, Dan might not remember the name of his fifth-grade teacher. But the teacher's name might suddenly pop into Dan's head if he visits his old elementary school and sees his fifth-grade classroom. The classroom would then be acting as a context cue for remembering his teacher's name.
Psychologist Sigmund Freud proposed
people forget because they push unpleasant thoughts and feelings
deep into their unconscious. He called this phenomenon
repression. The idea that people forget things they
donâ€™t want to remember is also called motivated forgetting or
Physical Injury or
Anterograde: amnesia is the inability to remember events that occur after an injury or traumatic event.
Retrograde: amnesia is the inability to remember events that occurred before an injury or traumatic event.