Forgetting: Definition, Causes and Warning

Forgetting: Definition, Causes and Warning

If all the knowledge acquired throughout the life of a person was preserved in his head, then the human consciousness could not function normally. The brain saves himself a periodic “disconnection” and “reboot”.

Definition in psychology

Forgetting is a natural process that consists in a complete or partial loss of previously perceived information and manifests itself in two forms:

  • impossibility to learn and remember+
  • distorted remember or recognition.

Forgetting is a loss of certain information. The process can be characterized by a decrease in the force of traces of the material, the disappearance of its disappearance or loss of communication between the individual elements leading to the distortion of the data.

Psychologists offer two classifications compiled on a specific basis:

  • Filtering of insignificant information using partial or complete removal of them from memory+
  • Temporary and long-term manifestation of displacement of information.

There is also a classification of reason forgetting:

  • data displacement at unconscious level+
  • Amnesia – a form of mental disorder+
  • Suppression – conscious displacement from the memory of some events or actions+
  • Failure and distortion of unclaimed knowledge+
  • Interference – mixing new knowledge with old memories that interferes with memorization and leading to partial forgetting.

German psychologist German Ebbigauz revealed patterns of disappearance from meaningless material. Graphic forgetting curve reflects remembering information in a percentage at a certain point in time.

Words that do not cause any semantic associations are quickly forgotten. After the first hour after completing the head, approximately 60% of the material will destroy. After 9 o’clock, a person remembers 36% of the information, after 6 days – 25%, about the same amount or slightly less of the initially learned information remains in the head in a month.

Mechanism forgetting

Any information over time is in one degree or another. The displacement of her traces from memory occurs in order to preserve brain structures. The forgetting process usually flows in the brain with the participation of nerve cells. Excessive forgetfulness may indicate various brain violations or overwork. Often, failures in memory are due to the adaptive process, the necessary organism.

There are certain laws forgetting. Conclusions and general provisions are better remembered than separate details. Mechanically granted material is forgotten quickly. Signorous memorization slowly displaces information from memory.

It happens complete and partial, long and temporary forgotten.

  • With the full erasure of knowledge from the memory, the subject cannot reproduce and even learn some data.
  • If the individual partially forgot the material, it is able to learn and reproduce it with errors or to restore it well in memory only a certain fragment.
  • With long-term forgetting, a person fails to restore the material in part or completely. He is not able to remember something for a long time.
  • Often the person for some reason cannot reproduce information at the moment. But after a while the desired material is remembered.

With full forgetting of information, the breakdown of nervous ties in the brain. Temporary displacement of traces is due to their braking, and long forgetting – their extinction. The laws of forgetting are that strong experiences and traumatic memories that pose a threat to mental health are erased from memory. The protective mechanism is triggered. In this case, the main motivation of the brain is to get rid of negative information.

The lack of reinforcement of the learned material leads to a focus of skill. The longer and more accurate identity uses the studied information, the longer they are not removed from the memory. Frequency of knowledge affects the forgetting mechanism.


Psychologists allocate a number of factors affecting the displacement of various events.

  • The most common cause of forgetting is the absence of information. Learning in medium and higher educational institutions do not store all the material obtained over long time. Acquired knowledge and skills that personality uses is remembered. The rest of the data that do not care about the subject or not applicable, is erased from memory.
  • The age of the individual affects the forgetting process. Children’s amnesia is characteristic of kids. People cannot remember the events that happened to the three-year-old age. Experts associate this phenomenon with limited vocabulary and lack of experience at the kid. In addition, the child does not feel like a person. The most intensive process of memory disorders goes after the onset of menopause. Elderly difficult to memorize new information, reproduce recent events. They tend to forget what they have to do. Of particular difficulty is the collision with new circumstances, unusual actions. For their development to people of old age, a lot of time is required. Psychologists recommend them to use various memo and the use of mnemonic techniques.
  • The reason may be interference. In this case, previous or subsequent events prevent memorization of the necessary information. For example, a student is preparing hard for the exam. And suddenly he reports sad news. As a result of proactive interference, only learned knowledge is partially displaced from the memory. Retroactive interference is a study of a new material immediately after the assimilation of another skill. For example, a student needs to learn two subjects at once. He must pass the day two tests. This will affect the quality of knowledge. When passing in one day similar disciplines, the interference occurs only during the acquisition of the first skill. The study of the second subject deepens the knowledge of the first discipline.
  • The rate of forgetting is influenced by the absence of a break in moments of activity. Brain neurons braking due to human fatigue. Even a small passage in the course of study or work improves the memorization process. Timely rest facilitates memory recovery in full.
  • Various diseases of the central nervous system, brain injuries and bruises also contribute to the erasure of knowledge. In case of loss of functions of some tissues, informative blocks may disappear from the memory of the whole.

A warning

There are the following status of memorization:

  • The information is well recorded in the memory, located at the beginning or end of the text, and the middle part is usually forgotten or remembered bad+
  • Unusual, original and funny material easily settles in the head+
  • information affecting the emotional sphere or causing great interest is remembered without difficulty and firmly.

An important means against erasing from the information memory is the repetition. Warning the forgetting process can be repetition of the material at the initial stage of its development, because in the first time the knowledge is rapidly lost. When the training material is almost forgotten, it is already difficult to restore it in memory. Russian teacher K. D. Ushinsky compared this process with a building that is easier to strengthen immediately than then constantly repair the ruins. Repeat new information should be immediately, then less time will be required to repetition and it will be easier to reproduce it.

The use of acquired knowledge in practice also prevents the forget process. A student who constantly solves the task or performs exercises, firmly fixes specific rules in memory.

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