Why people forget things after a short period of timeDecember 13th, 2008 - 2:33 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Dec 13 (ANI): Forgetfulness is common, but have you ever wondered why does it happen? Well, researchers from University of Georgia and Vanderbilt may have the answer.
It is believed that people forget things because information simply decays from the memory, as too much time has passed.
While the other theory says we confuse an item with other items that we have previously encountered (also known as temporal confusability).
With the two theories, researchers sought to the main cause of forgetfulness over the short term.
During the research, the participants were presented with a Ready screen (on a computer) for either 1.5 seconds or 60 seconds.
They were presented with a string of three letters and were instructed to remember them for a later test.
But, before they were asked to recall the three letters, the volunteers were told to count backwards for various amounts of time (4, 8, 12 or 16 seconds).
They found that temporal confusability, and not decay, is important for forgetting over the short term.
The volunteers who had to count backwards for the longest amount of time were better able to recall the letters than volunteers who were asked to count backwards for a shorter time period.
The researchers suggests that if decay was the main cause of forgetfulness, the participants, who were asked to count backwards for a longer amount of time would have performed the worst during recall.
The authors conclude it is possible to alleviate and even reverse the classic pattern of forgetting by making information distinct, so that it stands out relative to its background. These findings have very important implications not just for everyday memory use, but also for educational practices and for populations with memory problems, such as the elderly.
The results are reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. (ANI)
- Being in a good mood may increase forgetfulness - Mar 31, 2011
- Good mood can fog your memory - Mar 31, 2011
- Brain has three layers of working memory: Study - Mar 10, 2011
- Working memory functions despite brain damage - Oct 13, 2010
- Research says that multitasking takes toll on old people's memory - Apr 11, 2011
- Working memory tied to wandering mind - Mar 16, 2012
- Now, a computer algorithm that can record memories - Mar 12, 2010
- Psychologist test how people learn, remember in groups - Apr 30, 2011
- Long and short-term memory theory challenged - Nov 10, 2009
- Could Large Hadron Collider be world's first time machine? - Mar 16, 2011
- Brain 'finds it difficult to multitask as we get older' - Apr 12, 2011
- Remembering distant events can help ward current disturbing thoughts - Jul 27, 2010
- Study finds how we recall 'irrelevant' info - Feb 25, 2011
- A cluttered brain doesn't remember - Apr 20, 2011
- Powerful people think they are taller - Jan 03, 2012
Tags: amount of time, decay, educational practices, everyday memory, forgetfulness, memory problems, participants, period of time, populations, psychological science, short period, three letters, time period, time washington, two theories, university of georgia, vanderbilt, volunteers