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Forgetting May Help Improve Memory and Learning

Summary: According to researchers, there is some benefit to forgetting information. A new study report forgetting information plays a positive role in learning and can improve long term memory retention.

Source: APS.

Forgetting names, skills or information learned in class is often thought of as purely negative. However unintuitive it may seem, research suggests that forgetting plays a positive role in learning: It can actually increase long-term retention, information retrieval and performance.

The findings will be presented today at the American Physiological Society’s (APS’s) Institute on Teaching and Learning in Madison, Wis.

Contextual clues play a role in what people are able to store and retrieve from their memory, says Robert A. Bjork, PhD, distinguished research professor in the department of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. A change in context can cause forgetting, but it can also change—and enrich—how information is encoded and retrieved, which can enhance learning.

a light bulb

A change in context can cause forgetting, but it can also change—and enrich—how information is encoded and retrieved, which can enhance learning. NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.

Bjork defines forgetting as “a decrease in how readily accessible some information or procedure is at a given point in time.” For example, some items may be strongly imprinted in our memories (referred to as “strong storage strength”)—such as a childhood phone number—but may be difficult to retrieve quickly due to the length of time since that information has been accessed (“weak retrieval strength”).

About this neuroscience research article

Source: Stacy Brooks – APS
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
Image Source: NeuroscienceNews.com image is in the public domain.
Original Research: Bjork will discuss the differences in storage and retrieval and how “forgetting enables, rather than undoes, learning” in the plenary session “Forgetting as a friend of learning” on Wednesday, June 20, at the Madison Concourse Hotel.

Cite This NeuroscienceNews.com Article
APS “Forgetting May Help Improve Memory and Learning.” NeuroscienceNews. NeuroscienceNews, 20 June 2018.
<http://neurosciencenews.com/forget-memory-learning-9395/>.
APS (2018, June 20). Forgetting May Help Improve Memory and Learning. NeuroscienceNews. Retrieved June 20, 2018 from http://neurosciencenews.com/forget-memory-learning-9395/
APS “Forgetting May Help Improve Memory and Learning.” http://neurosciencenews.com/forget-memory-learning-9395/ (accessed June 20, 2018).
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