This topic discusses memory problems including 5 theories of forgetting, brain injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, Memory strategies, Hierarchy method, reconstructing memory problems (eye witness testimony), trained memory, relearning, associated memory including emotion associated learning, trauma and memory, meaningfulness, beliefs and memory, creating information and intentions to teach. This topic includes the overall awareness about memory problems and how to improve memory through different techniques.

Memory problems:

There are many theories that describe reasons of forgetting and there can be many more reasons. Describing theories of forgetting can help many people to get awareness of their memory problems. If there are some problems regarding collision of skull with any object or injuries owing to accidents, these can be classified as problems different from those theories of forgetting describe.

Theories of Forgetting:

Forgetting occurs due to:

  • Decay:

This theory states that you forget because you do not repeat the information as a result this information decays and you lose information.

  • Interference:

You forget information because it is mixed up with other pieces of information in the memory most probably the information similar in content has high chances of forgetting. That is the reason that previous information replaces new information called it Proactive interference and when new information replaces old information is called retroactive interference.

  • Encoding Failure:

You forget information because you never stored it and you just heard it or read it but you did not let it enter in your memory for storage due to lack of attention. Ex. For example you cannot easily recall all the signs and information on a currency coin the reason is that you did not memorize it at the first place, so you don’t remember later.

  • Retrieval failure:

You forget because right now at the time of recalling information temporarily disappears from your mind. Information in your memory you feel it but you cannot recall it.

  • Motivated Forgetting:

Motivated forgetting occurs when you are motivated to forget information because the information is unpleasant, and it takes time if the information or experience is very painful.

Brain Injuries/Trauma:

            Sometimes amnesia, which is the partial loss of memory occurs owing to injury to the skull. Either before the injury experiences of life are forgotten or after the injury the person cannot remember information and this case is very painful because after the injury if someone cannot remember things this condition cannot unfortunately be recovered.

Psychological disorder:

                                    Some psychological states such as stress, anxiety, major depression and any trauma can really affect memory performance.

Alzheimer’s Disease:

                        A deterioration of mental functions which starts by deteriorating memory functions especially. The affected person’s memory problems aggravate with the passage of time. This progressive mental deterioration leads him/her to inability to recognize his/her own family member. This disease is fatal, and the person cannot recover from it.

Memory strategies:

  1. Hierarchy for Long term memory:

Hierarchy is basically categorizing information step by step to have a classification. Each sub topic is covered in classifying the main topic in this hierarchy method. For detailed study or if the information is very detailed the best strategy is to classify and make a hierarchy aa it is a kind of organization. Subjective papers in exams cannot easily be remembered on finger topics. Such topics need to be classified so that they can be remembered easily by visualizing the exact picture of its classification. This needs your detailed study and after your studied all the material, you can classify them for better memorization. People who prepare for subjective papers of competitive exams use the same technique. This helps because one can remember lots of material on a single page by making a hierarchy.

It can easily give you a cue during attempting papers in exams by providing all the details from just a cue of the classification map that you make of each topic that includes all the details and sub headings of the topic.

Reconstructing Memory:

            When you talk about an event again and again your reconstruction of memory can change the actual events details into misguiding details that are not consistent to the original events. Therefore, remember each time you reconstruct memory it can mislead you to false information. Don’t repeat it subjectively over and over rather repeat it objectively and it can save you from wrong details owing to reconstruction.

Trained Memory:

            Neuroplasticity can be a logic explanation for trained memory owing to its scientific nature. When you repeatedly practise memorizing information, your brain makes pathways for extending and strengthening its network by extra synapses (an explanation of neurogenesis) and more flow in the neurons when neural messages flow in those specific neurons. Such a practice of memorizing information can help the memory be trained in a way that the person feels memorizing information is his favourite hobby.


            Relearning is basically learning the material again because you have not repeated information for a long time. But try to relearn it objectively as reconstructing memory as earlier mentioned can mislead you. This can be ‘’activation maintenance’’ as the information is forgotten from memory if you do not recall it for a long period of time. This is basically maintaining the network of the specific memory active in your mind.

Associated Memory: /Conditioned memory

            Generally, memory is associated to a cue but association of context, emotion and your mood can also have an impact on your memory of that event or information.

Stimulus      ————————————————————————————     Response Association

Emotion Associated Learning:

            In the presence of emotion, memory of an event or information gets stronger and remain active for longer. Because memory is state dependent, your emotional state can also be the state that you memorize information.

The more intensive the associated emotions with the memory are, the stronger and long lasting the memory will be. Perhaps, emotions can be negative, but the stronger emotions are love, peace and gratitude which are positive emotions.

  1. Context and Retrieval: The context while remembering information should be same with the context when you retrieve the same information.
  2.  Mood Congruence: the consistent the mood while retrieving information with the mood when you learnt the same information that you are recalling now, the stronger will be the retrieval.
  3. State-dependent retrieval: When you depend on something while studying such as coffee, tea, juice or any cold drink and even it can be spraying a perfume should be provided to you while the retrieval of the same information.

Drinking tea while study _______Topic: Climate change________ Drinking tea while retrieval

  • Retrieval can most probably be in exams apart from general discussion on different forums. The same context, mood and state of your body or mind dependent on something can be helpful in giving you hints about the topic that you memorized. Because those associated cues with your learning can be activated by the context, mood and your state.

Trauma and Memory:

            Traumatic experiences are so intensive that the person mentally lives in the experience even after the actual event. That’s the reason why affected person of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) remains in fear owing to the intensively remembering actual events in his memory.

            This can be an awareness for us that how we can deliberately associate positive emotions to our study material or any learning activity to be remembered.

Trauma     ______________________________________________     Stronger memory

                                      (Because emotion is associated)

Reading or studying material    _____________________________     Normal memory

(Because mostly emotions are not associated)


            Meaning is very vital in the material for study that information can be kept easily in mind when you understand its meaning. Sometimes, children cannot recall what you teach is because they don’t easily understand the meaning. Similarly, as an adult, you need to absorb the meaning of information that you would like to remember.

            Herman Ebbinghaus’s experiment on memory can help us understand what the importance of meaning is in memory. He tested himself with the words such as SIB, RAL etc in order to reduce previous learning factor because he wanted to test the memory, so he created new words. His forgetting increased within a week and he forgot all the words in less than a month period. This experiment concluded that because of the words SIB, RAL etc which lacked meaning was forgotten. Therefore, Herman Ebbinghaus concluded that meaning is essential for building a stronger memory for information.

Beliefs and Memory:

            Your beliefs track your mind and it works the way you would like it to work. It depends when you would like to learn lots of material and it can be preparing for an exam and you continuously study and if you believe you cannot memorize all the information it is possible that you are right. On the other hand, it is also possible when you believe you can learn and memorize all the required information or study material. The difference is in the beliefs because you program your memory through your beliefs about your ability to learn and memorize.

Creating Information:

            Your learning is enhanced when you create information by writing or trying to discuss a topic from different perspectives.

Intention to teach:             Whenever you would like to learn new material through reading or attending lectures so keep in mind that you will teach your fellow students or colleagues and that you focus and try to absorb it completely. This can result in your better learning. Your actions follow your intentions and your memory gets stronger for the information you think you will later reproduce it to teach others.


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