Lauren Starr

Why I Chose This Topic

I chose this project because people forget things everyday, and I would like to know why this happens. It drives me crazy when I walk into a room and forget why I went there, or simply forgetting to do my homework. Furthermore, I am hoping to get to the bottom of this problem after I finish this project.

Why We Forget

There are three ways that we "forget" which include decay, displacement and interference. Decay is where you do not rehearse the information, so the memory slowly fades away. Displacement is pretty straightforward, the new memories replace the old memories. And last but not least Interference, which is a little more complicated than the others. Interference can be proactive or retroactive. Proactive is where old memories interference with new memories, and retroactive is where new memories distorts old memories.

The Brain

The prefrontal cortex is involved with the selective retrieval of memory. The Prefontal cortex works in combination with the hippocampus to retrieve specific memories. The hippocampus acts as the search engine while the prefrontal cortex is the filter that determines which memory is the most relevant. When you fail to remember something the prefrontal cortex and your hippocampus are failing.

Research & Psychologist

Hermann Ebbinghaus was the first psychologist to research this topic. Ebbinghaus made up a list of thirteen syllables to memorize, some include ( zeq, xis, lek, vut, riy). These syllables are in random meaningless combinations that are not likely to have been learned already. After one hour Ebbinghaus was only able to recall a few from the list, concluding that forgetting takes place soon after you try to learn something.

Other Interesting Stuff

While some people have a hard time remembering stuff it's quite the opposite if you have hyperthymestic syndrome. Hyperthymestic syndrome is where you remember every little detail from previous days. While some people think this is awesome it is actually seen as a burden. These people are so caught up in their past memories they say it is hard to focus on the future.