Forgetting

Kyle Cahill

Why do I care?

The "art" of forgetting things is a problem I face everyday. Someone could tell me they're dog's name at the beginning of the day, but by nighttime I wouldn't even remember who I had talked to in the morning. Learning more about why we forget could possibly help me and others around me, understand how we forget and how to remember stuff long-term.

Why do we forget?

Let's see how we forget first. As the brain captures an idea from the external world, it sends signals through neurons and these signals (memories) flow through our mind continuously and never stop. But as time goes on some signals become weaker or fade away entirely.

People with a healthy brain are just as capable of remembering stuff as anyone else, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are as motivated to remember for the future. One problem people have with memorizing items and ideas is simply because they don't care enough to want to remember.

Also, people go through a lot in life, and sometimes the experiences we go undergo can cause our memories to become murky and clash causing either memories to combine and distort our idea of what happened. Or we can forget one entirely.

Hermann Ebbinghaus

Ebbinghaus while researching why people forget things, performed a study on himself, in which he continously memorized a new list and had to repeat by adding a new list of combinations of words and recorded how how many he could remember from the first lists. In return he created the Forgetting Curve. A graph that repesents a percentage of memory we will remember after a certain period time.
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