The Science of Forgetting

By: Ram Prasanna


I chose this topic because I think if I learn more about why we as humans forget, then maybe I will retina more valuable information in the future. Therefore if I do gain any methods to retain more knowledge this will help me in school and remembering concepts and facts. Also this same aspect can help many others that do not know about these factors of forgetting.

What is forgetting?

Knowledge that is learned to an extent in the past that is lost due to a variety of factors. Like for example, have you ever went through any high school class and at the end looked back and notice you don't remember anything?

The Brain and Forgetting

The Brain is capable of long term memory and short term memory. Where the long term memory is very fuzzy and dull but is retained longer, whereas short term memory is sharp and keen on details but does not retain the information very long.
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Why do we forget?

Scientists have now have a theory that essentially states that forgetting is a mechanism that is by the human brain in order to prevent insanity. As there are many people with an eidetic memory that call this so-called gift a burden.
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Forgetting Research and Theories

There are many theories of forgetting but there are some very popular ones. One main theory is the forgetting curve that states that as memory capacity in relation to time. This is also called the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve as it was established by Hermann Ebbinghaus. As this psychologist tested his memory with three-letter nonsense syllables. Then after a period of time he tested himself to see if he remembered the letters.

Robert Bjork is a very famous psychologist that has done extensive research on the science of forgetting and has developed theories and conclusions about different aspects of why people forget. Such as the testing effect, where as an individual is tested formally the test can assess more knowledge than prior. Also he has theories about why students forget knowledge on the day of the test in a "fright". His whole study is in concentration for a increased memory and learning performance.

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Interesting Facts about Forgetting

There is actually a theory about how doorways destroys memories. As people going through a doorway could potentially go through it and after a period of time in the room they do not realize how they came into the room in the first place.

There are actually activities that allow the brain to forget memory. People with a disease called global amnesia will obtain these memory difficulties and there would be no signs of damage to the brain or a stroke. It is still not clear how this occurs.

There are memories in our "Subconscious" and our "Unconscious" mind that many people cannot access. These memories can potentially be accessed through psychological methods and could be a mechanism by the brain to either empty space for more information in the access of the conscious mind or a way to have repressed memories.

Remembering and Forgetting - Crash Course Psychology #14