Explanations of Forgetting Essay

Explanations of Forgetting Essay.

Forgetting is ‘the inability to recall or recognise material that was previously stored in memory’, and there have been several explanations provided from a variety of studies investigating how we forget. Depending on whether information is forgotten from sensory memory, short term memory (STM) or long term memory (LTM) it can be due to a lack of availability or accessibility. A lack of availability is where information is not present in STM due to decay and displacement, and a lack of accessibility is in the LTM due to cue dependency and interference.

Forgetting occurs in the STM as it has a limited duration and capacity; once these limits are reached, information is forgotten. If information is forgotten from STM therefore it is unavailable, however LTM’s duration and capacity are theoretically unlimited so any information that is forgotten from here is only inaccessible – in memory somewhere but not retrievable for some reason.

Decay from STM is where chemical memory traces fade after 15-30 seconds without rehearsal, so presumably some sort of structural change takes place during learning, and according to decay theory, metabolic processes occur over time which cause the engram (memory trace) to degrade unless maintained by rehearsal, causing the memory to become unavailable.

Peterson and Peterson (1959) conducted a study which supports decay theory as the average number of trigrams recalled was high when there was a short delay in recall, and nearly 70% of trigrams had been forgotten after a 9 second delay suggesting the duration of STM is only a few seconds and that decay can take place due to forgetting things over time. However, there are difficulties with this study and decay theory in general as other effects need to be excluded. Ideally, a study should get participants to receive information then do nothing physically or mentally for a set amount of time and then test recall, but this is impossible.

Jenkins and Dallenbach (1924) did a study which approximated the ‘do nothing’ state by asking participants to learn a list of syllables before they either went to sleep or continued with their normal activities. Recall was tested at regular intervals, and it was found that forgetting increased as retention intervals increased for awake participants but not for the sleeping participants, but if decay is from time passage alone, there should be the same amount of forgetting in both groups, suggesting what occurs between learning and recall determines orgetting, not time passage.

Some data exists suggesting neurological breakdown occurs with age and disease (e. g. Alzheimer’s) however there is no evidence that the major cause of forgetting in LTM is neurological decay (Solso 1995). Hebb argued that while learning is taking place the engram that will eventually be formed is delicate and liable to disruption (the active trace). With learning it grows stronger until a permanent engram is formed (structural trace) through neurochemical and neuroanatomical changes.

The active trace corresponds roughly to STM and according to decay theory, forgetting from STM is due to disruption of the active trace. Other researchers argued it can explain LTM forgetting if it is assumed decay occurs through disuse (decay-through-disuse theory), so if certain knowledge or skills aren’t used for long periods of time the corresponding engram will eventually fade away (Loftus and Loftus 1980). Reitman (1974) argues that items are displaced from the STM.

New information coming in pushes old information out of the limited capacity STM (7 +/- 2 items – Miller’s Magic Number) before it has been rehearsed and transferred into LTM. Waugh and Norman’s 1965 study supports this theory. They used a serial probe technique where participants were presented with 16 digits, then a probe digit was read out, and the participants had to say which digit came after the probe digit in the list. They found that 11 Spicy Strawberry information at the start of the list was forgotten more than the information at the end, presumably because information at the start had been displaced by newer information.

It is assumed that if the probe was towards the end of the list the probability of recall was high, as the last digits would still be available in the STM. When the number of digits following the probe was small, recall was good but when it was large recall was poor, consistent with displacement theory. The primacy-recency effect also provides evidence for displacement. Glanzer and Cunitz conducted a study to demonstrate this effect where if recall is delayed the effect of recall disappears.

If asked to remember a list of words, words from the beginning and end of the list tend to be remembered better than words in the middle. The high level of recall at the beginning is the primacy effect, where your short term memory is quite empty giving room to rehearse and pass information to the long term memory store. However as words keep coming the short term memory store loses ability to rehearse information because it becomes overloaded, meaning information at the end of the list is also recalled and not words in the middle of the list due to the new words displacing old words.

However, it is possible that the information at the start decayed with time and was not displaced so it is not clear which is the more likely explanation for forgetting in the STM. Forgetting from LTM is suggested to occur from retrieval failure, and the Encoding Specificity Principle states that when information is learned, other information such as place of learning is encoded at the same time. Where external and internal cues for remembering are lacking such as context or state, forgetting occurs.

Context-dependent forgetting occurs when the environment is different to where information was originally learned, and state-dependent forgetting is where your mood is not the same as when information was learned, and it is relevant as an internal cue (McCormick and Mayer). The role of retrieval cues is demonstrated by the ‘tip of the tongue’ phenomenon, where we know something but can’t retrieve it at that moment in time. Brown and McNeill (1966) investigated this, and gave participants dictionary definitions of words and asked them to give the word they were describing.

Some were sure they knew the word but couldn’t recall it, suggesting the required words were in memory but an absence of a correct retrieval cue prevented recall. Godden and Baddeley did a study where divers learned a list of words either on land or underwater and were later tested for recall either on land or underwater. They found that divers who learned words in the same environment they recalled them performed better than those who recalled words in a different environment, which suggests that recall of information is better when in the same context of where it was learned.

However, Godden and Baddeley repeated their study using recognition as a measure of remembering but found that context had no effect, which may mean that context affects recall only. Tulving and Pearlstone showed that cued recall is more effective than free recall. Category names with words inside where given as cues in one condition, and for the other condition words were asked to be recalled without category names as a cue. 0% of words were remembered accurately from free recall, and 60% were accurately remembered from cued recall, showing that cues do help memory.

This supports retrieval failure theory as it offers a method of remembering information more effectively if there is something present to trigger it. Miles and Hardman also support this theory as participants learned words either at rest or while exercising, and recall was tested in the same or different state to learning and it was found that physical state provides cues to assist recall.

Bower et al supports McCormick and Mayer’s theory of mood as an internal cue to recall, as participants were hypnotised and imagined a happy/unhappy mood while learning information and it was found that 12 Spicy Strawberry participants who recalled the material in the same mood as they learnt it performed better than those in a different mood, so recall was affected by internal context in which they learned the material.

Although experiments conducted in a laboratory have low ecological validity due to material required to be recalled and the controlled environment, Eysenck says it has been proved easy to demonstrate cue-dependent forgetting outside the laboratory. Interference theory in LTM is another explanation for why we forget. There are two types – retroactive interference where new material disrupts the recall of old material and proactive interference where old material disrupts the recall of new material.

The more similar the material, the greater the interference. This may be why it is generally agreed that if students need to study more than one subject in the same time frame they should be as dissimilar as possible to prevent interference from occurring. Baddeley and Hitch’s 1977 study supports the idea of interference as an explanation for forgetting in the LTM. They asked rugby players to recall the names of teams played earlier in the season, and some players played less games than others in the intervening period due to injuries.

Players’ memory of ‘two weeks ago’ was worse when they played more games compared with players who didn’t take part in as many games. Since the same time had elapsed for all players, forgetting seemed to be due to interference of new learning (retroactive interference), showing that new memories can disrupt old memories of what happened and cause confusion and inaccuracies and that forgetting is influenced more by what we do before or after learning than by passage of time.

Keppel and Underwood said that proactive interference was occurring in the Peterson’s study into decay theory as the ability to remember trigrams had been disrupted by the old information as trigrams may interfere with each other, so it may not be due to time passing. Wickens found that participants became increasingly poor at retaining information in STM on successive trials, however when the category was changed, performance was as good as for the first list. So performance with lists of numbers became poorer over trials, but if the task was changed to lists of letters it improved (release from proactive interference).

Interference theory is very relevant to us as there are many real-life examples of where it can affect memory, e. g. not remembering new phone numbers due to having an old number for so long, or calling a current partner by your old partner’s name by accident. These are both examples of proactive interference. However, as with most laboratory experiments, they are low in ecological validity due to the controlled environment and learning being artificially compressed in time which maximises the likelihood that interference will occur.

Laboratory studies also tend to use nonsense syllables as a stimulus, so when meaningful material is used, interference is more difficult to demonstrate (Solso 1995). According to Schacter (2002), efficient forgetting is crucial to a fully functioning memory. In his book The Seven Sins of Memory, he describes several ways we forget, including transience – discarding out of date information, absent-mindedness – failing to properly encode information due to a lack of attention, and blocking – where the brain holds back on a memory in favour of a competing memory, preventing interference.

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Explanations of Forgetting Essay

Describe the Type of Memory Loss Essay

Describe the Type of Memory Loss Essay.

1.2 Describe the types of memory impairment commonly experienced by individuals with dementia. Memory problems are usually the most obvious symptom in people with dementia. For example, a person with early stages of dementia might go to the shops and then cannot remember what they wanted. It is also common to misplace objects. As dementia progresses, sometimes memory loss for recent events is severe and the person may appear to be living in the past. They may think of themselves as young and not recognise their true age.

At first, someone with dementia may appear to be easily irritated or moody. More challenging behaviour may develop in some people over time. For example, in some cases, a person with dementia may become quite disinhibited. This means that he or she may say or do things quite out of character. Some people with dementia can also become agitated or even agressive and this may be directed towards their carers.

They may become suspicious or fearful of others and, in some people, delusions (abnormal beliefs) and hallucinations (a false perception of something that is not really there) can occur.

Alzheimer’s disease- plaques and tangles tend to form in the areas of the brain which are responsible for memory, but as the dementia progresses they start to spread to other brain regions leading to additional problems with thinking, reasoning and language. The most common cognitive symptom of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease is memory dysfunction; an individual may find it difficult to remember recently experienced information. For example, after a short delay of a couple of minutes an individual may be unable to remember the details of a conversation they have just had. In addition, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease often have problems planning and organising their activities, processing visuospatial information in their environment and recognising family and friends, particularly in the later stages.

Common symptoms of Vascular dementia include difficulties with concentration and communication, memory, symptoms of stroke such as physical weakness or paralysis, periods of acute confusion, and depression. Individuals with Lewy body dementia will often experience vivid visual hallucinations such as seeing animals or people which are not actually present. Periods of fluctuation in performance are also a common characteristic of Lewy Body dementia; tasks which are performed well one day, or at one point in the day, may be performed more poorly the next day, or a few hours later in the same day. Sleep disturbance is often present in this condition; individuals with Lewy Body dementia may experience vivid dreams and night-time restlessness, accompanied by a tendency to fall asleep in the daytime.

Lewy Body dementia shares characteristics of both Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Like individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, individuals with Lewy body dementia frequently have problems with spatial orientation (i.e., knowing where they are, and navigating in their environment) and memory, although the degree of memory dysfunction is not normally as pronounced. Problems with visuospatial processing and executive functions (i.e., planning and coordinating mentally activities) are prominent features of Lewy Body Dementia. Frontotemporal dementia receives its name from the regions of the brain that are most commonly affected in the condition. Brain degeneration tends to affect the frontal lobes of the brain – which support speaking, planning and controlling behaviour – and the temporal lobes which are responsible for comprehending speech, storing factual information about the world, and memory.

Currently three different forms of Frontotemporal dementia are recognised: (1) Behavioural-variant Frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) is characterised by personality changes and behavioural disturbances. Some of the most common symptoms include a of loss inhibition (saying or doing things which are socially inappropriate), reduced empathy (problems understanding and responding to the needs of others), problems with planning and organising activities, increased distractibility, changes in food preference (a propensity to eat large quantities of sweet food) and a tendency to develop compulsive rituals (e.g. watching the same movie repeatedly). (2) Progressive non-fluent aphasia (PNFA) is characterised by problems with speech production.

Individuals may struggle to find the correct words when engaging in conversation. Often individuals will struggle to pronounce words correctly (especially if they have more than two syllables), and their speech will lack appropriate grammar. Problems understanding speech can also be present, especially if the sentence contains complex grammar. (3) Semantic dementia is characterised by a selective deficit of semantic memory, which is our memory store for factual information about the world around us – e.g., the knowledge that apples are fruit is a semantic memory. Individuals affected by this condition have difficulty understanding the meaning of written and spoken language, pictures and objects. In some cases of semantic dementia a mild form of the behavioural changes seen in behavioural-variant Frontotemporal dementia may develop as the condition progresses.

Describe the Type of Memory Loss Essay

Grandma’s House Essay

Grandma’s House Essay.

My favorite place to be when I was growing up was my Grandma’s House. Some of my most cherished memories of my childhood were created there. The minute I would walk in the door and see Grandma and Grandpa sitting in their matching brown corduroy recliners, any worries or problems would go from my mind. All that mattered from that point on was that I was at Grandma’s. Grandma’s house was located on about 20 acres on South Military Rd.

, in Winlock, WA. It was the cutest little two story white house on her road. On a good day you could see it from a couple miles away because it had a bright, red tin roof. It was at Grandma’s house where our whole family would come together on Christmas day to hang out with family, share in a delicious feast, and open presents. It was usually total chaos, while adults where trying to get dinner ready. The children were going crazy pestering everyone until they were finally allowed to open presents.

The presents, to look at, were nothing you would think a woman with as many years of wrapping experience would look like. It did not matter how many presents each one of us got, Grandma managed to get everything wrapped in one big package with usually two different kinds of wrapping paper because she would run out and use whatever she had on hand. Heaven forbid she should waste wrapping paper. Once the havoc of present opening was done, we would all sit down to a wonderful turkey dinner. My favorite part of dinner was my Grandma’s paste gravy. It was made with real bacon grease, flour, and a mixture of milk and water. Just thinking of it makes my mouth water. Although Grandma was not the best cook, I still crave her cooking to this day. Summers at Grandma’s were equally memorable. These were much more special times with just the cousins and Grandma and Grandpa. My cousins and I would spend hours upstairs in my dad and aunt’s old bedrooms playing dress up and pretending like we were the parents and re-arranging our “houses.”

The baby doll I always used, while we played house, was one that had been passed down for many generations. His name was Mr. Peabody; the poor thing had his fingers chewed off and chunks taken out of his head, nothing special by any means, but I loved him. I still have him to this day. When it was nice out, we liked to play out in the barn. There was so much old stuff out there that they had collected over the years. It was a gold mine for children with nothing to do and a brilliant imagination. My most vivid memory of the barn was a hot summer day in 1980. My two cousins and I were playing kitchen in the barn. There was an old portable two burner stove that I decided needed to be moved. As I picked it up, I started to trip on something, so I immediately let go of the stove.

The minute it slammed down, hundreds of bees’ flew out of there and headed straight for me. Within seconds, before I could even react, I was covered from head to toe with bees. I screamed and ran frantically out of there, towards the front of the house. Grandma heard my screams and comes running out to see what the ruckus was all about. As soon as she got to me, she started ripping off my clothes and hitting me with them trying to get the bees off. This day was also memorable because it was the first day I wore my new training bra. At the time, I did not know which was worse, the pain from the hundreds of bee stings I had received, or the embarrassment of standing in the front yard, stripped down to my panties and new training bra.

With all the wonderful memories I had growing up all I could ever imagine was to someday live there. That day came much sooner than I could have ever imagined. In 1992 my Grandma was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. It was a very difficult time knowing that there is no cure and having no idea how much time will be left with the rock of your family. Grandma’s house became even more special. In January of 1993 my Grandpa passed away. At the same time, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. In June of the same year, we lost Grandma also. Although it was a really rough year, it made things easier knowing that when my son was born I was going to be bringing him home, to Grandma’s house.

Grandma’s House Essay

Cognitive Failure Essay

Cognitive Failure Essay.

Cognitive failure is defined as absent-mindedness, that is, mistakes or errors people make because of slips of attention or memory failure (Reason and Mycielska, 1982). Their origin has been traced to memory problems, attention problems errors in the implementation of intentions or errors caused by distractions. It also involves clumsiness and problems in social interactions or problems in processing information. Mostly students are prone to experience cognitive failure.

If a person continues to experience cognitive failure, his or her brain may experience problems and difficulties in coping with the processing of thoughts.

Mathematical ability is probably the most important asset that a student should have. This study will identify if there is an existing relationship between the cognitive failure of the 3rd year students and their mathematical ability. These variables will guide the researchers into finding the answer to their problem.

With the dedication and the perseverance of the researches, this study hopes to educate the students in assessing their cognitive failure and how to avoid it.

Statement of the Problem

This research study aims to investigate the relationship between cognitive failure of the 3rd year students and their mathematical ability. Specifically, this study aims to answer the following questions: 1. What is the current level of cognitive failure of 3rd year students as measured by the Cognitive Failure Questionnaire? 2. What is the current level of mathematical ability in Geometry among 3rd year students? 3. What is the relationship between Cognitive Failure of the 3rd year students and their mathematical ability?

Statement of the Hypothesis

Null Hypothesis: There is no significant relationship between Cognitive Failure of the 3rd year students and their mathematical ability. Alternative Hypothesis: There is a significant relationship between Cognitive Failure of the 3rd year students and their mathematical ability.

Scope and Delimitation

This study focuses on the typical conditions pertaining to cognitive failure such as lack of attention and memory loss which affects student’s mathematical ability. The age and gender of the students were not considered as a factor in this study.

This study limits its coverage on the third year students of Saint John of Beverley. Its main purpose is to prove if cognitive failure has a relationship with their capabilities in answering a mathematical ability test and to propose possible solutions regarding these problems. Each of the respondents is given the Cognitive Failure Questionnaires and a mathematical ability test to answer. Data gathered will be treated using the coefficient of correlation to determine the relationship or non-relationship existing between the variables of the study.

Definition of Terms

1. Cognition – refers on how the human brain process thoughts and information. 2. Cognitive Failure – the state of being absent-minded person and consequently committing mistakes or errors because of slips of attention or memory failure and errors cause by interference. It is measured by using the Cognitive Failure Questionnaire. 3. Mathematical ability – scores gathered by the students in answering the mathematical ability test. It is considered as a task in this study, not the subject Math. 4. Mathematical ability test – refers to the 20 item test that the researchers used to identify the scores of the 3rd year students. 5. Cognitive Failure Questionnaire – pertains to the questionnaire designed by Broadbent, Cooper, FitzGerald and Parkes on 1982 to evaluate the cognitive failure score of an individual person. 6. Social Desirability Bias – it is the tendency of respondents to reply in a manner that will be viewed favorably by others. (Wikipedia)


The literature review for this thesis supports the variables being studied. It also provides the readers with a brief background regarding cognitive failure and its different branches.

Cognitive Failure

The researchers define cognitive failure as a cognitively based error that occurs during the performance of a task that the person is normally successful in executing. Cognitive failure encompasses execution lapses in: (a) attention (i.e. failures in perception), (b) memory (i.e. failures related to information retrieval), and (c) motor function (i.e. the performance of unintended actions, or action slips) (Martin, 1983 c.f. Wallace, J. Craig; Chen, Gilad, 2005). When cognitive failure occurs, people’s execution of a task is unintentionally affected.

Though this failure was not caused by the lack of ability of a certain individual and the level of difficulty of the task, the lapses that we are talking about is when the ability is present and the task is incredibly simple (Reason, 1977). Cognitive failure somehow related to cognitive factors such as overload of short-term memory capacity, reduced attention and vigilance level, incidental learning, and divided attention (Broadbent, Cooper, Fitzgerald, and Parkes, 1982).

Throughout the years, researchers have identified several factors of cognitive failure based on the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire (Broadbent et al., 1982). Matthews, Coyle, and Craig presented a seven factor regarding cognitive failures which are physical clumsiness, people’s names, planned social interaction, language, lack of concentration, absentmindedness, and a final factor based on 1 item from the CFQ. Nevertheless, insufficient number of items for several factors made Matthews et al. to limit them into two, General Cognitive Failure and recall of people’s names, which are similar to those of the findings of Larson, Alderton, Neideffer, and Underhill, (1997) where they, too, identified two general factors of cognitive failure, general cognitive failure and name processing (Matthews et al. 1990).

Another group of researchers have identified five factors namely distractibility, misdirected actions, spatial/kinaesthetic memory, interpersonal intelligence, and memory for names (Pollina, Greene, Tunick and Puckett, 1992). For this study, the researchers followed the three factors of Cognitive failure, attention lapses, memory lapses and interference (errors caused by distraction or action slips) which are widely known and have been proven by many researchers (Reason, 1977; Norman, 1981; Broadbent et al., 1982; Mycielska, 1982; Martin, 1983). The said factors will be thoroughly discussed in this chapter.

Memory Lapses

Often times, you may experience forgetting something and having difficulty recalling it. This prove that memory is a vital factor of cognition. Memory is the heart of human intellectual functioning and consequently is involve in all processes and from perception to reasoning (Reed, 2004). Without memory, it is impossible for us to exist in the world. Tulving reveals that memory is an important basis in making plans for the future (1985). To make things short, memory is everything.

A research study entitled “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information” states that: “People are limited in the number of items they can keep active in memory and that this limited capacity influence their performance on a variety of tasks” (Miller, 1956 c.f. Reed, 1996). There are two kinds of memory storage. Short term memory (STM) and Long term memory (LTM). STM can only hold a limited number of items.

If information isn’t rehearsed for about 20 – 30 seconds, it will be forgotten by the STM. The brain can also choose to place information at LTM, but the problem is the difficulty of recalling it as time passed by (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1971 c.f. Reed, 1996). A good example for this scenario is when you went to a shop to buy something. If you are not rehearsing the items you want to buy, there is a possibility that you may forget it. If it is thoroughly rehearsed and was placed in LTM, there may be an instance when you cannot recall those items that you rehearsed.

Retrieval of information depends between the original experience and the attempt to remember. It means that the older the memory, the more likely it is to be forgotten. This concept is what we called retention interval (Ebbinghaus, 1964 c.f. Reed, 1996) For example, the item number 12 in the CFQ “Do you find you forget which way to turn on road you know but rarely use?” Since that you rarely used that road, the original experience may be ages ago from your attempt to recall it, therefore memory is loss.

Attention Lapses

Basically, there are two characteristics of attention – focalization and concentration (James, 1890 c.f. Reed, 1996). Focalization implies selectivity. Selective attention is common among people. We tend to ignore things that aren’t interesting to us. For example, students find it more favorable to day dream than to listen to the teacher’s boring lesson.

In the study entitled “Absent-mindedness: Lapses of conscious awareness and everyday cognitive failures” states that: Our results suggest that momentary lapses of conscious awareness of our actions have pervasive effects on the efficient, effective conduct of every day activity as well as on our affective well being (Cheyne, Carriere and Smilek, 2006).

This study proves that being an absentmindedness person surely has an effect on ones performance in task. In our previous example about day dreaming, when the teacher decided to have a quiz about the discussed topic, the student who wasn’t paying attention to the discussion may get low score on the quiz.

The second aspect of attention is concentration. Imagine that you are doing a laborious project and somebody is talking to you, the message relayed to you by that person will be ignored by the brain. As long as your attention is clearly focused on what you are doing, other stimulus trying to penetrate your will be blocked.

Several researchers come up with those they call bottleneck theories. These theories attempt to explain how people select information some information processing stage becomes overloaded with too much information (Reed, 1996). One of the theories proposed by Broadbent is the Filter Model. It shows how an important is chosen from several overloading information. An example of this is when you came to a shop to buy something. At first, it’s really hard to see the things you need to buy because of all the other items in the shop.

Action Slips

Another factor of cognitive failure is action slips. Action slips are absentminded errors in action. There are several characteristic of action slips: ● They usually occur during the performance of tasks that are so highly practiced they are largely automatic. ● They usually occur when we are preoccupied or distracted. ● Many involve intrusions of other habitual actions that share some characteristics with the intended action. ● Such habit intrusions are more likely to occur when:

● We’re departing in some way from our usual routine (for example, you decide to stop adding milk and sugar to your coffee, then finding yourself doing it automatically). ● The situation has changed, demanding a change in our usual routine (for example, a much-visited shop moves premises, but you keep going to its old location). ● The situation shares features with a highly familiar situation (for example, you try and open a friend’s car with your own car key).

Other types of action slips are:

● Place-losing errors – where you’ve lost your “place” in an action sequence, and so omit or repeat part of the sequence (for example, because of wheat sensitivities in my family, I make our own bread; accordingly, it is a highly practiced recipe, and I add all the ingredients in a fixed order. If something happens to distract me in the course of it, I may be unsure where I am in the sequence, and risk omitting or repeating an ingredient). ● Blends – where you get confused between two active tasks (for example, you write an email while thinking about the next email you’re going to write, and address the current email to the correspondent for the second email). ● Reversals – where you get confused between parts of the same task (for example, you put an empty ice cube tray in the freezer, and then turn to the tap to fill it).

You can see from all this that these everyday errors occur in the context of action sequences – that is, sequences of actions that we have practiced so often they have become automatic. Dressing, undressing, washing, making coffee or tea, even making quite complicated recipes – these are all common examples of action sequences (http://www.memory-key.com/problems/everyday_problems/slips).

Mathematical Ability and Cognitive Failure

Mathematics is the essence of cognition. It is thinking (dual coding) with numbers, imagery and language; reading/spelling is thinking with letters, imagery and language (Bell and Tuley, 2003).

Cognitive Failure Essay

Short Term Memory and Long Term Memory Essay

Short Term Memory and Long Term Memory Essay.

Short term memory (STM) is stored in the brain for approximately 3- 18 seconds, whereas long term memories (LTM) can be stored in the brain from up to a few minutes to a lifetime. STM and LTM have different encoding processes. STM is encoded into the brain mainly by sound (acoustic), the way LTM is encoded into the brain in terms of the word or situations meaning rather than sound (semantically). The capacity of LTM seems unlimited, though research has shown that LTM can change or not be as easy to recall as a person ages.

The capacity of STM is limited; Miller’s Magic Number 7+/- 2 experiments where he investigated the serial digit span proves this. The STM theory was supported by Peterson and Peterson’s study in 1995 when they used their trigram experiment. They asked participants to remember three numbers or letters e.g. RGT or 452. They were then told to count backwards to stop them from rehearsing the trigram.

Their recollect was tested after 3,6,9,12,15 and 18 seconds and they had to recall the trigram in the correct order. They discovered that 80% of the participants recalled the trigrams correctly after 3 seconds but recall dropped to 10% after 18 seconds. This study proved that without rehearsal, information is not held in short term memory for very long. The capacity of STM was shown by Miller in 1956, in his paper ‘The Magic Number 7+/-2’. Jacobs investigated the serial digit span (7+/-2). The participant was given a series of digits, starting with one number or letter which gradually increased by one ate the end of every sequence. Jacobs found that the average span for recalling numbers was 9.3 and 7.3 for letters. This span increased as participants got older. It is said that this is due to ‘chunking’.

Chunking is a memory trick that groups (chunks) together items in a series in a way that is meaningful. The meaning behind these chunks causes increased memory retention. The LTM theory was supported by Bahrick et al. They used participants from the USA because of their tradition of keeping school yearbooks. The participants were asked to remember as many names of their ex classmates as they could recall (free recall). They were then shown photographs from the yearbook along with others the participants would not have seen. The participants were told to identify those that they recognised (visual recognition).

Finally they were asked to recognise the names of the people from school (verbal recognition). In all cases free recall was not great, participants that left school 15 years prior were accurate 60% of the time and those who left school 48 years ago were only accurate 30% of the time. In all the cases of verbal and visual recall, the participants that left school 15 years ago were 90% accurate. And the participants that left school 48 years ago were 70% accurate in verbal recall and 80% accurate in visual recall. This study proved that long term memory can last a long time but is not permanent since they get worse as time goes by.

Short Term Memory and Long Term Memory Essay

Outline and Evaluate the Working Memory Model Essay

Outline and Evaluate the Working Memory Model Essay.

The working memory model is a theory for how short-term memory works, and an expansion of the views expressed in the MSM theory. Baddeley and Hitch in 1974 felt that STM was not just one store but a collection of different stores. These concepts lead them to form a model which consists of three slave systems; the central executive, the phonological loop and the visuo-spatial sketchpad. They used the phrase ‘working memory’ to refer to the division of our memory that we utilize when we are working on an intricate task that requires data to be stored as you go along.

​The central executive is the key component of working memory. It works at delegating our attention to specific tasks, determining at any time how the two other components, the phonological loop and the visuo-spatial sketchpad, should be allocated different tasks. The central executive also has an exceedingly short capacity, so it is not able to deal with too many things in one time.

The phonological loop also has a restricted capacity. It works in conserving auditory information and preserves which order that information came in. In 1986 Baddeley further divided the phonological loop into two separate components; the phonological store and the articulatory process. The phonological store operates as an inner ear, holding the words you hear and the articulatory processor operates like an inner voice, only used for words heard or seen. It then repeats them silently, which is a form of maintenance rehearsal. The visuo-spatial sketchpad is used when you have to plan a spatial task (determining visual relationships between objects). It stores both visual and spatial data here, but only temporarily. Visual information is what things look like and spatial information is the relationship between things.

The working memory model contains a vast amount of strong points, however we don’t know completely everything regarding the working memory model, so there is an opportunity for it to be developed further and intensify our understanding of our shot term memory. The working memory model also creates predictions that are able to be tested empirically, therefore enabling the model to be repeated and be more reliable. Baddeley et al (1975) showed that people are able to recall shorter words better then longer words, which is known as the word length effect, probably because the phonological loop only retains two seconds worth of information. Participants were asked to memorize a list of five monosyllabic words, and one other list made up of five polysyllabic words. Participants recalled the monosyllabic list better than the polysyllabic list, due to the fact that the longer words can’t be rehearsed on the phonological loop because they don’t fit. The discoveries prove that George Miller’s discovery, that the span of the immediate memory is 7 ± 2 is false, because the length of the words matter.

Baddeley’s experiment contains a lack of mundane realism because the participants would not memorize random lists in day to day life containing words with the same syllables. Nevertheless, because it is a lab experiment it can be controlled. This experiment shows a cause and effect, that the longer the words the less the participants can recall. The results of the experiment show that the phonological loop can become over loaded, and has a limited capacity. Shallice and Warrington (1970) conducted research into brain damage by studying KF, who had a STM that could work independently of his LTM and could deal with it realistically well with visual information and meaningful sounds, but some aspects of his immediate memory were impaired and he could not cope well with verbal material.

This research offers evidence for the WMM, as it proposes that only his phonological loop was affected, nothing else. LH, studied by Farah et al (1988), tended to perform better on spatial tasks rather than visual imagery tasks, which also offers evidence for the WMM, as it proposes separate visual and spatial systems. Using brain scans, Bunge et al (2000) showed there was more brain activity when participants in the tests were doing tasks simultaneously rather than one after the other which supports the existence and involvement of the central executive.

Baddeley (1982) conducted research that showed when people process sounds two separate areas of the brain are active which supports the existence of separate components in the phonological system in the WMM Hitch and Baddeley in 1976 demonstrated that when participants performed two STM tasks using the same stores (i.e. both phonological) performance slowed, whereas two tasks using different stores (i.e. visual and phonological tasks) performance was not affected. Participants accomplished both tasks as well as they would have done if doing the tasks separately. This shows that the Working Memory must have separate modalities. The findings also highlighted the difficulties of doing multiple tasks using the same store as oppose to using separate stores simultaneously.

In the Lab experiment, participants were given a statement such as “A is followed by B” while continuously repeating a random word such as ‘the, the, the’, then they were given another statement such as “AB” and asked to say true or false. As this study was a Lab experiment, it was highly controlled resulting in a higher degree of accuracy. The fact that it was a lab experiment also allowed it to be easily repeated, thereby allowing the researcher to retest findings. The Working Memory Model (WMM) is critisised of the central executive being too vague. It appears to be that it allocates resources and is essentially the same as attention. Which doesn’t really explain anything scientifically?

Critics also stated that central executive might consist of not one but probably several components According to Eslinger and Damasio 1985 who studied EVR who had had a cerebral tumour removed. He performed well on tests requiring reasoning which suggested that his central executive was intact. However, he had poor decision-making skills which suggest that in fact his central executive was not wholly together. Therefore, this indicates that the central executive is unsatisfactory and fails to explain anything in details because it might be more complex than currently presented.

The working memory model offers a more detailed explanation of the MSM, which proposed that information flows through several different stores. It describes the short-term memory with a number of components rather than a unitary store. Additionally, the working memory model includes verbal rehearsal as an optional process rather that the only means by which information is kept in immediate memory. It also emphasises process more than the MSM, which emphasised the structure. The working memory model also takes into account of how we do a range of tasks, such as verbal reasoning, problem solving and comprehension.

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Outline and Evaluate the Working Memory Model Essay

Affect of Sleeping Habits in the Academic Performance of the Students Essay

Affect of Sleeping Habits in the Academic Performance of the Students Essay.

Sleep may be one of the most important factors for student success and often one of the most neglected. Many students will sacrifice sleep in order to work, play, or get school projects completed. However, although most people think they can function well when they don‟t get sleep, the truth is they cannot. Sleep is extremely important for ones mental and physical health. Even though enough sleep is necessary for cognitive function and memory consolidation, it did not seem to have any effect on the academic performance contrary to what other studies have shown.

(Source: httpwww.usu.eduarcidea_sheetspdfsleep%20and%20academics.pdf )

Sleep is a vital part of child and adolescent development. Poor or inadequate sleep can have a dramatically negative impact on a child’s daily functioning, particularly school performance. Side effects may include off-task behavior, drowsiness, irritability and an inability to focus. (Jennifer Paige Edwards, 2008)

Adequate amount of sleep is important for one’s mental and physical health, for cognitive restitution, processing, learning and memory consolidation.

Sleep requirements vary from person to person but 7-8 hours of sleep in adults is considered normal. It has been reported that inadequate sleep can cause emotional instability, memory loss, day time sleepiness and decreased concentration. Various researches have been conducted all over the word on this issue so far which shows that sleep deprivation affects the academic performance of student and may also cause mood dysregulation, increased dissatisfaction in day time functioning, obesity and decrease in cognitive functions. (Source: httpweb.mit.eduwriting2010JulyEliassonEtAl2002.pdf)

Sleep and wakefulness are intimately related states, with mutual influences (Ramos Platón, 1996). The present work focuses on the effects of sleep over wakefulness. Among others, sleep is important for cognitive restitution. It influences information processing, learning and memory consolidation (e.g., Lavie, 1996; Li Deming et al., 1991; Ramos Pláton, 1996). Therefore a certain amount of sleep is needed to adequate wakefulness. Besides the amount (or hours of sleep), the timing is also vital for adequate daytime functioning. Therefore, we tend to maintain relatively stable schedules. (Source: httpetd.auburn.eduetdbitstreamhandle104151174Edwards_Jennifer_30.pdf)

Most sleep specialists agree that, although adult humans require approximately 8 hr of sleep per day, sleep patterns of adolescents and young adults differ from those of their adult counterparts in several ways, including a need for increased sleep ( Carskadon, 2002 ). Additionally, research fi ndings suggest that adolescents undergo a phase delay in sleep on set accompanied by increased irregularities in their sleep patterns, further jeopardizing sleep suffi ciency in this population ( Wolfson & Carskadon, 1998 ). These physiologically determined changes in adolescent sleep patterns result in a net increase of 0.5 – 1.25 hr, equating to 8.5 – 9.25 hr of sleep required per night during adolescent and young adult stages of life. (Source:httpmontegraphia.comallisonwp-contentuploads201008Sleep_and_academic_performance.pdf)


Sleep is an important factor in a child’s life, affecting development, as well as emotional and physical well-being. Sleep problems can have an impact on a child’s daytime functioning, and they are not uncommon. Estimates of the number of children with sleep problems range from as low as twenty percent (Liu et al., 2005), to as high as over fifty percent (Buckhalt & Wolfson, 2006). Sleep is a fundamental part of life. It is not just a function of the body, it is an active process. Sleep is so vital to the body’s daily functioning that a prolonged loss of sleep impairs metabolism, immune function, temperature control and can ultimately lead to death (Rechtshaffen & Bergmann, 2002). As with other functions of the body, sleep cannot be localized to just one part of the brain. Its control mechanisms are entrenched at every level, starting with the cells. The same mechanisms that control autonomic functions, cognition, behavior, arousal and motor functions are all involved with the process of sleep.

Adequate amount of sleep is important for one’s mental and physical health, for cognitive restitution, processing, learning and memory consolidation1-3. Sleep requirements vary from person to person but 7-8 hours of sleep in adults is considered normal. It has been reported that inadequate sleep can cause emotional instability, memory loss, day time sleepiness and decreased concentration4. Various researches have been conducted all over the word on this issue so far which shows that sleep deprivation affects the academic performance of student and may also cause mood dysregulation, increased dissatisfaction in day time functioning, obesity and decrease in cognitive functions2,5-7. A similar study done in Pakistan, on pediatric medicine residents also revealed the fact that continuous work with decreased sleep results in deterioration of cognitive and behavioral status4. (Jennifer Edwards, 2011).

Sleep may be one of the most important factors for student success and often one of the most neglected. Many students will sacrifice sleep in order to work, play, or get school projects completed. However, although most people think they can function well when they don‟t get sleep, the truth is they cannot. Research shows that people who are deprived of sleep perform worse on thinking and performance task than those who are not sleep deprived. Furthermore, those who were sleep deprived judged that they performed better on the task than they actually did. In comparison, the non-sleep deprived group accurately judged how well they did on the task. What this shows is that people lacking sleep think they are doing just fine when in fact, they are not. Losing sleep often results in lower performance on tasks, which frustrates and aggravates the sleep deprived student who thinks his or her performance is just fine. Research shows that people who sleep seven hours a night do better on memory tasks than those who do not. Individuals will vary in terms of how much sleep is the „right‟ amount, but in general most college students need at least six to eight hours a night. (httpwww.usu.eduarcidea_sheetspdfsleep%20and%20academics.pdf)

At a time when several studies have highlighted the relationship between sleep, learning and memory processes, an in-depth analysis of the effects of sleep deprivation on student learning ability and academic performance would appear to be essential. Most studies have been naturalistic correlative investigations, where sleep schedules were correlated with school and academic achievement. Nonetheless, some authors were able to actively manipulate sleep in order to observe neurocognitive and behavioral consequences, such as learning, memory capacity and school performance. The findings strongly suggest that: (a) students of different education levels (from school to university) are chronically sleep deprived or suffer from poor sleep quality and consequent daytime sleepiness; (b) sleep quality and quantity are closely related to student learning capacity and academic performance; (c) sleep loss is frequently associated with poor declarative and procedural learning in students; (d) studies in which sleep was actively restricted or optimized showed, respectively, a worsening and an improvement in neurocognitive and academic performance.

These results may been related to the specific involvement of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in vulnerability to sleep loss. Most methodological limitations are discussed and some future research goals are suggested. (2006 Elsevier Ltd.) Sleep is an active, repetitive and reversible behaviour serving several different functions, such as repair and growth, learning or memory consolidation, and restorative processes: all these occur throughout the brain and the body. Thus, during sleep behavioural, physiological and neurocognitive processes occur: these very processes are susceptible to be impaired by the absence of sleep.

Sleep loss is, in fact, one of the most striking problems of modern society. Very often, to cope with our many daily interests, we prefer to sacrifice some sleep time, in the hope that this will not induce dangerous effects but will enable us to carry out several other activities. Unfortunately, this is not true and sleep deprivation has various consequences, such as sleepiness and impairments in neurocognitive and psychomotor performance. More specifically, in their classic meta-analysis, Pilcher and Huffcut claimed that sleep-deprived individuals functioned at a level that is comparable with the ninth percentile of non-sleep-deprived subjects. These decrements in neurobehavioural functioning after sleep restriction or deprivation are well known and common to all people even though some individual differences in vulnerability to sleep loss have been shown. (2006 G. Curcio et al.)

Teenagers who fail to get enough sleep could find there’s a trickle-down effect from the bedroom into the classroom. Inadequate sleep, the effect on the brain and the resulting behaviour of adolescents was in focus at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in June. The presentation was led by neuropsychologist Dean Beebe, whose research explores the impact of sleep restriction on teens. Part of his study involves a simulated classroom and having kids watch educational videos while rested and while sleep-deprived. They were also quizzed afterwards and had their behaviour filmed. While there are individual differences, Beebe said, as a group, researchers observed much better attention and mood when kids are well-rested versus when they’re sleep-restricted. (The Canadian Press, 2008) According to principal investigator Jennifer C. Cousins, PhD, postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, it was surprising that although more and better sleep produced overall improvements, different types of sleep measures were related to different types of functioning.

“Sleep deficits cause problems for adolescents, but students differ in their personal resources and in how chaotic their sleep-wake schedules are,” said Cousins. “The more regular and predictable their sleep is, the better they are likely to do when confronted with short-term sleep deficits. Therefore, participants with better sleep overall may be affected differently in a sleep condition compared to those who have a more varying sleep/wake schedule.” The study involved data from 56 adolescents (34 female) between the ages of 14 and 18 years who had complaints of daytime sleepiness and or insufficient sleep at night. Participants reported their subject grades and overall academic standing. Sleep was measured objectively with actigraphy and subjectively through sleep diaries. Higher math scores were related to less night awakenings, less time spent in bed, higher sleep efficiency and great sleep quality; there was also a trend for decreased sleep onset latency (SOL).

Higher scores in English were associated with less nighttime awakenings. Increased SOL during the weekends was related to worse academic performance. According to Cousins, poor sleep and poor sleep habits are associated with substance use, emotional problems, cognitive problems and a general decline in daily functioning. Sleep education may be a preventative tool to help increase awareness of the importance of sleep and of the negative consequences of poor sleep. Authors of the study state that results provide overwhelming evidence of the importance of sleep during a period of development that is critical in adolescents and highlight the importance of the development of sleep intervention programs for students in order to improve existing problems with sleep and daily functioning. (Jennifer C. Cousins, PhD, 2011)


Grades, Number of Hours spend in Sleeping and Sleeping Habits (INDEPENDDENT VARIABLES)

Effect of Sleeping Habits


This study aims to determine the effect of the sleeping habits in the academic performance of the 2nd year SSC students in the 2nd grading period. Furthermore, this seeks to answer the following questions:

1. What is the average no. of hours does male students consumed in sleeping? 2. What is the average no. of hours does female students consumed in sleeping? 3. What is the average grade of the students during the 2nd Grading Period? 4. Is there a significant relationship between the no. of hours consumed in sleeping and their academic performance? 5. Is there a significant relationship between their sleeping habits and their academic performance? 6. Do male and female students differ in the no. of hours they consumed in sleeping?


Ho1: There is significant relationship between the no. of hours consumed in sleeping and their academic performance.
Ho2: There is no significant difference between their sleeping habits and their academic performance.
Ho3: There is no significant difference between male and female in the no. of hours they consumed in sleeping.


To the Parents – This research may bring facts and may help the parents to guide their children in their sleeping habits and also to guide their children in their sleeping hours. To the Students: This study may produce information and help the students to be caring and to be more responsible in their sleeping hours and sleeping habits. Students will able to know the good effects of sleeping.

To the Researcher – This investigation may become a basis for further studies.


This study was limited to a questionnaire method. The respondents were the SSC sophomore students of Panabo National High School. Scholastic performances were taken during the 2nd Grading Period.


Sleeping – A natural, periodically recurring physiological state of rest. In this study, it is used as a dependent variable. Sleeping habits – this is one of the important variables in this study. It refers to the length of time (in hours) consumed by the student in sleeping. It is also the things that the student does before/after sleeping. Academic Performance – is the average grade of the students taken from the 2nd Grading Period. SSC – Special Science Curriculum; from which the respondents were taken. PNHS – Panabo National High School: the school from which the respondents were taken.

Affect of Sleeping Habits in the Academic Performance of the Students Essay

Human Memory Model Essay

Human Memory Model Essay.

What is the Human Memory Model? Do you know where your thoughts and memories go? We are going to look at the three different memory types. What makes them up and how they function. Developing short and long term memories is something that is a long term project. We do not fill our cerebral cortex with all the knowledge and memories overnight. In this paper we are going to look at the human memory model. What makes us process thoughts into memories, process things we see, hear, feel, taste and smell into memories.

Human Memory Model Essay

To Improve Memory Essay

To Improve Memory Essay.

In psychology, memory is an organism’s capability to store, preserve, and then recover the same information. Generally, the classifications of memory used the sensory, short-term and long-term memories. The first two classes are only available for a short period of time compared to long-term memory which could last for a life-time.

            The storage process for the brain undergoes an incident in which connections between neuron groups are strengthened. Its patterns are recorded by the brain in an occurrence called the “engram”.

These engrams will be stored and will remain inactive until they retrieved (Schacter, 1996). The major factor that would affect memory storage would be time; the past is always replaced by recent events and engrams not recalled are simply slipping away from the mind. Improving memory by converting information into long-term-memory can be accomplished by linking it into something that is in the memory.

            One of the most popular techniques in improving memory is by the use of mnemonics. This is usually done by making associations between something that is easily remembered and one that is not.

Another method would be to gather all the initial letters from the list to be memorized, and then make a single word out of it. Sometimes the word formed can be directly or indirectly related to the information aimed but it could also be unrelated at some instances, depending on the situation.

            Researchers state that increasing the supply of oxygen to the brain is a good way of developing a better memory. The best way to achieve this is by undergoing proper and regular exercise. Stress should also be lessened, as well as depression. Sufficient sleeping time should also be done.  A better memory can also be achieved if the individual undergoes constant intellectual activities like reading. Keeping the brain healthy will certainly help in reducing memory loss and enhances ones memory retrieval.


Eysenck, M. (2005). Cognitive Psychology: A Student’s Handbook, 5th Edition: A Student’s Handbook (5th ed.): Psychology Press.

Schacter, D. L. (1996). Engrams: How the Brain Stores Memories [Electronic Version]. Memory Expansion Channels. Retrieved September 2, 2007 from http://www.brainchannels.com/Memory/encoding/encoding.html.


To Improve Memory Essay

Theoretical Perspectives on Remembering and Forgetting Essay

Theoretical Perspectives on Remembering and Forgetting Essay.


     One of the most interesting topics in an introductory course in psychology is the concept of memory; an irresistible topic to view, study and learn due to its relevance and the personal benefits a person can derive immensely in the course of his/her study. People enjoy the sheer feat that those with exceptional abilities exhibit them in various ways.

     It is interesting to note that  in a study on memory, a person like Arturo Toscanini, a world-renowned conductor, was said to have been able to memorize “every note written for every single instrument in some 250 symphonies and all the music and lyrics for more than 100 operas” (Morris & Maisto,1999 in Neisser, 1982).

People like him are examples of those with truly remarkable memories. It is natural for many to be interested in their routines or just what kind of memory they are.

     How important is the understanding of remembering and forgetting? This is best seen in how some people seem “allergic” to the notion of being ascribed as “forgetful” in some areas of his/her life, or the fear of one day discovering that Alzheimer’s disease is looming large in an individual’s immediate future.

People usually make efforts to secure that this part of the brain’s facility is functioning well through personal research on the topic, some forms of mental exercise, and ingesting specific nutritional supplements, among others.

Nevertheless, there are numerous facts and information that the average person must know about this very essential mental operation and the accompanying vast abilities or tasks that every individual brain is capable of. Its exploration for a few is typically out of curiosity; however, many people frequently come across the concepts serendipitously and then discover the enjoyment of learning the material.

     This paper attempts to describe and explain in précis, what memory is, its importance, the difference between short and long-term memory, and the theoretical perspectives that explain and help understand why people remember and forget.


     Just what is meant by memory, and how are the terms short-term memory and long-term memory commonly defined by psychologists? When a person’s memory suffers, what are usually the factors and explanations for such an occasion?

  1. Relevance and Definition of terms

     The study of memory and specifically why people remember and forget any material is relevant especially in the area of learning in particular and in education in general. Moreover, it is a part of this intricate network of learning and much of a person’s adjustment processes, his whole existence, depend largely on it.

  1. Importance of Memory and its study

     Memory is defined primarily as the “ability to retain knowledge: the ability of the mind or of a person or organism to retain learned information and knowledge of past events and experiences and to retrieve that information and knowledge.” It is also “somebody’s stock of retained knowledge and experience,” and the “retained impression of event: the knowledge or impression that somebody retains of a person, event, period, or subject” (Microsoft® Encarta® 2006).

     Short-term Memory has a lot to do with everyday stimuli which a person experiences. This is specifically distinguished as retention of approximately twenty to thirty (20-30) seconds which implies that a limited quantity of data is contained. This type of memory is indispensable in one’s daily processing of experiences (www.mind-memory-improvement.com).

     Long-term memory is defined as involving the “consolidation and organization of complex knowledge and information for further reference and other cognitive (mental) processing such as the application of learning or information into meaningful experiences”. This is illustrated through the information like a person’s own birthday, his/her father’s name, and the appearance of his/her home(www.mind-memory-improvement.com).

     In other words, to get an overview of these concepts, both Short-term and long-term memories,  are concerned with how you continually organize data that are stored in your brain. In short, human memory is like a vast and complicated yet organized library, rather than a trash can or disordered store room” (www.mind-memory-improvement.com).

     In the whole learning process that is part and parcel of being human, it implies a certain degree of remembering and forgetting.

  1. What is remembering?

     Remembering is defined as persistence of learning after practice has ceased. According to Hilgard, it is “to show in present responses some signs of earlier learned responses” (1983). The kinds of remembering are:

  1. Reintegration (the technical term for “reintegrate”); it is to reestablish an earlier experience on the basis of partial cues. For instance, a fragment of a song reestablishes the first dance a girl had with the boy she had a crush on, the place and the time attendant to the event and all the poignant memories associated with it. This may not be detailed or incomplete.
  2. Recall; simple revival of past experience and may involve motor or verbal skills, like recalling the dance steps one learned in his/her physical education class, or in recalling a poem learned in the previous grades.
  3. Recognition; involves recognizing someone or something familiar. An individual may be asked to identify a suspected criminal he saw filching something from the supermarket in the previous days. He/she may pick out the person on the basis on familiarity.
  4. Relearning; involves more rapid learning than before on the basis of some retention from earlier learning. In relearning experiments, when the subject can reproduce a given body of a material according to a standard originally used, it is said that he/she has met a criterion of mastery (Hilgard, 1983).
  5. What is forgetting?

     Forgetting is the loss of the ability to recall, recollect, or reproduce what has been previously learned. There are various theories that presume possible causes of the process. Among these are:  a) Passive decay through disuse

  1. b) Systematic distortion of the memory trace c) Interference effects (retroactive and proactive inhibition), and
  2. d) Motivated forgetting (Atkinson, 2000).
  3. Explaining the Theoretical Perspectives
    1. Passive Decay through disuse

     This theory assumes that forgetting takes place through the passage of time. It assumes that learning leaves a trace in the brain or nervous system – the memory trace which involves some sort of physical change. With time, metabolic processes of the brain cause a fading or decay of the memory traces so that traces of the material once learned gradually disintegrate and eventually disappear (Plotnik, 1996).

  1. Systematic Distortion of memory traces

     This theory also assumes changes in memory traces. The orderly changes in reproducing things from memory (qualitative changes) can be attributed to spontaneous changes in the memory traces. Qualitative changes are revealed in distortions of memory such as those which occur in rumors or in pictorial materials which are transmitted from person to person or are recalled only at intervals by a single person. Details are either omitted or added and sometimes the story or picture is made “better” than the original (Plotnik, 1996).

  1. Interference Effects (Retroactive or proactive inhibition)

     Retroactive inhibition refers to a loss in retention as the result of new learning which acts as back up and inhibits the traces of older learning. Proactive inhibition refers to similar inhibitory effects which occur when the interpolated material is placed ahead of the materials to be learned (Atkinson, 2000).

  1. Motivated Forgetting

     The psychoanalytic school attributes forgetting to motivational factors, including amnesia which is the complete forgetting of one’s personal past and to repression, which is the forgetting of material that is psychologically painful or inconsistent with the individual’s evaluation of the self (Atkinson, 2000)

  1. Other theories – Quantitative decay of retention

     1)Attitudinal and motivational factors – things we desire to remember are more easily remembered; while indifference or lack of interest may make more rapid forgetting (Santrock, 2000).

     2) Nature of materials learned – materials that are meaningful and that lend themselves to good organization are not easily forgotten. It is for this reason teachers or instructors must have a good knowledge of their students’ psychological make-up so that the latter will have better chances of taking in the lessons (Santrock, 2000).

     3) Emotional blocking – (related to motivational forgetting) Many students for instance, state that they have experienced this condition at some points in their academic lives (Santrock, 2000).

     4) Faulty techniques of study. – usually a student or any learner for that matter, naively thinks that what he/she knows as personal study habits are actually sufficient or adequate. Sensitive and concerned teachers (or some parents) eventually are the ones who point these out to students. It is all the more necessary that the earlier diagnosis be in place so that the development of good techniques will be taught and/or enhanced (Santrock, 2000).


     Remembering and forgetting are forms of behavior explained from different standpoints by such theories as passive Decay through Disuse, Systematic Distortion of memory Traces, Interference Effects and Motivated Forgetting. A student who learns that disuse results to decay, will now ensure that he/she put to use and make constant practice his/her regimen. Other reasons or factors are equally important that material are more thoroughly absorbed and assimilated to avoid the pitfalls that pervade a learner in his/her learning process.

     Although such things as “wear and tear” that accompanies ageing are at times uncontrollable factors, and are acceptably the usual alibis of those who forget in their ageing years, some individuals defy this common occurrence. Thus, discounting systemic or organic damage from the environment via accidents and pollution, the scientific evidences still point to the fact that the human brain is a powerful and highly capable organ with more of its areas or “frontiers” to be explored.

     The ramifications of the topic explored are to the incalculable advantages of a person and considered gains in his/her personal understanding and significance of memory.



  1. _____ Dictionary by Microsoft® Encarta® 2006. © 1993-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
  2. Atkinson, R.L., R.C.Atkinson, E.E. Smith, D.J. Bem, and S. Nolen-Hoeksema. 2000. Hilgard’s introduction to psychology. 13th ed. New York:Harcourt College Publishers.
  3. Hilgard, E.R., R.R. Atkinson, and R.C. Atkinson (1979) 1983. Introduction to Psychology. 7th ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanich,Inc.
  4. Morris, Charles with Albert Maisto . 1999. Understanding psychology. 4th ed. Prentice Hall Inc. New Jersey. In Neisser, U (1982). Memory observed: Remembering in natural contexts. San Francisco: Freeman.
  5. Plotnik, R. 1996. Introduction to Psychology. 4th ed. Pacific grove, California 93950: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.
  6. Santrock, J.W. 2000. Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  7. Internet Source: http://www.mind-memory-improvement.info/sharp_memory_factors.html


Theoretical Perspectives on Remembering and Forgetting Essay