Three basic memory processes: Encoding putting info into memory Storage maintaining info in memory Retrieval getting info out of memory What is forgetting? Failure to remember The Forgetting Curve (Ebbinghaus)
Why does forgetting happen? Failure to encode "We must never underestimate one of the most obvious reasons for forgetting, namely, that the information was never stored in the first place" Loftus Failure during storage memory loss decay Memories fade like newspaper ink Older memories should always be less memorable than new memories Failures during retrieval loss of access to information that is there availability vs. accessibility interference (failure to make effective retrieval cue) encoding specificity Tip of the tongue effects Access to partial information Feeling of knowing "The signs of it are unmistakable. He appeared to be in mild torment, something like on the brink of a sneeze..." "Suppose we try to recall a forgotten name... sometimes we tingle with a sense of its closeness. If wrong names are proposed we can reject them. They do not fit into the mold. The rhythm might be there without the sound to cloathe it; or the sense of the initial consonant or vowel may mock us fitfully." How to minimize forgetting How to study no fancy tricks need to concentrate on certain basic points 1. Pay attention what is not stored cannot be remembered 2. Be sure to encode information DEEPLY just taking notes or letting your eyeballs pass over the text does not mean that you understand what you are hearing or reading especially compulsive note takers need to review their notes after class and THINK about what they have written do this while the lecture is still fresh in your mind (while some things that you did not write down are still in memory) Develop ORGANIZATION. Relate the discrete points mentioned in class to each other. Relate the topic of today's lecture to the previous lecture. Use headings in the text. Be sure you understand how the subtopics are related. ELABORATE. Relate information to facts and ideas you already know, whether from previous chapters or from your general knowledge. Try to say things in your own words. Think about how things relate to you and your own thought processes. DISTINCTIVENESS. Think of concrete examples. Be sure to compare and contrast concepts so that you see how they differ. 3. Be sure to PRACTICE RETRIEVAL Good encoding should provide good retrieval cues Be sure to pay attention to retrieval cues in test questions Pause after each point or paragraph and ask what is the main point or why this point is important. Use review questions at end of chapters. Practicing information lets you know that you have encoded it, and the act of retrieving it makes it easier to recall in the future. The best learning occurs in a DISTRIBUTED manner. More varied retrievals give you more cues to remember by.