If you belong to the group of people who can’t remember small details, details in films and books, or names of people they have met, then this condition can be easily improved.
Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, in 1870 started to conduct experiments in order to study the human memory and methods to measure it. He made a list of nonsense words and used them to measure pure learning. He knew that our existing knowledge affects the learning of new information, so he experimented with material without meaning or with little meaning.
His discoveries created the ‘Forgetting Curve’, which in fact, meant the rate at which people start to forget new information. He discovered that he forgot a big amount of information within 20 minutes and ½ of the nonsense words within 60 minutes.
Within 24 hours, he forgot 2/3 of the learned material and the remaining 1/3 stayed in his memory, meaning that if the information remains for one day, it will be memorized forever.
Hermann Ebbinghaus came up with additional theory that he called ‘The Spacing Effect’, which explains that people learn better and easier if we repeat the information several times, spaced out in an extended period of time. For example, if you study a speech repeatedly one week before a big event, you are going to learn it better rather than if you study it the night before. This applies for keeping information in the long-term storage.
This is a the explanation of the Spaced Repetition Theory:
Short-term storage of information:
First Repetition – Immediately after learning
Second Repetition – After 15 minutes
Third Repetition – After 6 hours
Fourth Repetition – After 24 hours
Long-term storage of information:
First Repetition –Immediately after learning
Second Repetition – After 20 minutes
Third Repetition – After 24 hours
Fourth Repetition – After 2 weeks
Fifth Repetition – After 2 months
However, in case you keep on forgetting the birthday of the closest ones and can’t go shopping without your list for groceries, the below listed would help you a lot:
Understand what you learn so to recall the information from the memory.
Make a priority list of the things you want to remember and memorize the most important things first.
If you learn a foreign language and want to broaden your vocabulary, associate the new words with words that you already know.
People tend to remember opposites easier, therefore, when learning new vocabulary in a second language, learn by associating a word with his opposite one, such as day and night.
While acquiring new material, use the body language and visualize because these methods will stimulate muscle memory.
The interference theory shows that similar memories can be mixed together. So, switch the topics occasionally while remembering things.
Now, what you will have to do is to remember all of these things and you won’t have forgetting problems again.
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