AND SCIENCE Have you for­got­ten some­thing today?

Myrtleford Times - - Regional Extra - WITH CHRIS FEBVRE, In­ter­fer­ence the­ory Mo­ti­vated for­get­ting

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.

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