AND SCIENCE Have you forgotten something today?
to our brain.
The theory suggests that over time, these memory traces begin to fade and disappear.
If information is not retrieved and rehearsed, it will eventually be lost.
One caveat with this theory is that often long term memories can be very stable even if they aren’t rehearsed.
Interference theory suggests that some memories compete and interfere with other memories. When information is very similar to other information that was previously stored in memory, interference is more likely to occur.
One example of this might be when you go on holiday to the same location multiple times.
It can become difficult to recall on exactly which occasion one particular event occurred.
Failure to store
Sometimes we simply don’t encode information into long term memory at all.
On these occasions, we’ve haven’t really forgotten anything, our brains simply didn’t know it to begin with.
A good example of this is the five cent coin test which you can try right now.
Without looking at a five cent coin, try your best to draw, as accurately as possible, the back of the coin on a piece of paper. Did you get close? If you are like most people, the image on the back of the coin simply never entered your long term memory.
But the act of studying the coin now to see if you drew it correctly means there is a much greater chance that information will be stored.
As the name suggests, motivated forgetting is the theory of actively forgetting information.
Motivated forgetting comes in two main varieties, suppression - a deliberate and conscious attempt to forget something, and repression - an unconscious form of forgetting.
Often, motivated forgetting occurs when the memory is of a traumatic or disturbing nature.
Next week I’ll be looking at ways to help improve your memory retrieval, so stay tuned, and try not to forget.