CAN WE UN­LEARN THINGS?

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Q&a -

To some ex­tent, yes. Psy­chol­o­gists have tested this in var­i­ous ways, in­clud­ing ask­ing peo­ple to spend time learn­ing pairs of words, and then ask­ing them to de­lib­er­ately forget some of them. Fu­ture mem­ory for the de­lib­er­ately for­got­ten words tends to be poorer. More re­cently, re­searchers have ex­tended this con­cept to show that peo­ple can un­learn be­havioural habits ac­quired in the lab (such as par­tic­u­lar fin­ger move­ments paired with spe­cific words), and they’ve found that af­ter a pe­riod of de­lib­er­ately not think­ing about a par­tic­u­lar au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal episode from their lives, peo­ple show a loss of mem­ory de­tails for that episode. CJ

Some­how, we never seem to un­learn the lyrics to the Go Com­pare ad­vert…

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