Do you understand the forgetting laws of the brain

Do we often imagine that we can have the “memory bread” of Doraemon. After eating, the knowledge will be remembered naturally and the exam will be easy to pass?

But in fact, learning is more like sailing against the current. If you do not advance, you will retreat. Many students often forget to remember, remember and forget…It’s like a snowball that has been pushed up a mountain and rolled down. So, what is the pattern of brain memory? How to remember knowledge more easily?

Next, let’s walk closer to the world of memory, see how the brain works, and explore memory strategies by understanding the laws of forgetting.

Ebbinghaus forgetting law
“I always forget what I have learned, is it because my memory is not good?” “A memory master who never forgets, won’t he forget it?”

In many cases, we attach great importance to the results of memory, but do not care about the process of memory. Therefore, once the phenomenon of forgetting occurs, it is regarded as “bad memory”, so I began to research various memory methods frantically, thinking that as long as the memory method is correct, it will not be forgotten. Another classmate asked me: “Teacher, is there any way I can just read the book once and remember the knowledge?”

For students who have these “good” wishes, I can only say frankly: “There is no such method.”

Because, even if one day we become masters of memory and have the ability to remember, we will still forget knowledge very quickly. The essential reason is: the memory method can alleviate the pain in the process of remembering information for the first time, but it cannot change the natural forgetting phenomenon of the brain. After anyone has learned a new knowledge, he must continue to review it in order to let the knowledge go from short-term memory to long-term memory. If you do not insist on reviewing, even the clearest memory will be forgotten within a day. ”

So why is it said that “most of the knowledge will be forgotten in a day”? Let us take a look at the research results of psychologist Ebbinghaus. In 1885, Ebbinghaus recorded his forgetting of meaningless syllables and drew a “forgetting law curve”, showing us an amazing truth, that is: the brain will quickly clear most of the mind Memory, forgetting will happen quickly.

How fast is the forgetting process? The answer is very fast, and the peak of forgetting occurs within 24 hours.

As shown in Figure 1, after 20 minutes of learning new irregular information, the retention rate of memory is 58.2%; after 1 hour, the retention rate of memory is 44.2%… After 24 hours, the retention rate of memory is only 33.7 %. That is, 66.3% have been forgotten. To put it vividly: For irregular information, even if the brain remembers it, it will “forget it as soon as you turn your head.”

Of course, if the information we remember is more regular, the forgetting curve will be relatively flat. But the overall trend and law of forgetting are still consistent. So, the question is: in the face of this law, what measures can we take to avoid forgetting as much as possible?

Review the correction curve
Although the speed of the brain’s forgetting is irreversible, we can change our behavior. For example, before the forgetting occurs, the brain is constantly stimulated to remember again. In this way, a new curve-“Review and Correction Curve” appears.

The orange-red curve in Figure 2 is the forgetting curve. We conduct a review every time the forgetting occurs, so that we continue to review 5 times. We saw that after each review, the orange-red curve was lifted, and the slope became slower and slower. After the fifth review, the memory rate basically reached 100%, and the gradient of forgetting was very small.

Figure 1 Ebbinghaus forgetting curve

Specifically: We have forgotten about 50% when we first review after 5-10 minutes. Through review, the forgetting curve rises to the apex, begins to fall again, and the slope slows down.

In the past 24 hours or so, when we conducted the second review, the forgetting rate was about 35%. Through review, the forgetting curve rises to the highest point and begins to fall again, and the slope of the curve further decreases, and the forgetting speed slows down.

When we did the third review within a week, the memory retention was about 75%. Through review, the forgetting curve has risen again, and a lot of forgetting will not occur over time.

When we reviewed the fourth time within one month of learning the new knowledge, the memory retention rate had reached about 85%. After review, the forgetting curve is almost parallel to the horizontal axis. This shows that the brain has basically transferred this knowledge into a long-term preservation state. Figure 2 shows that if we conduct the fifth consolidation review within 3 to 6 months, the knowledge will be better remembered.

The green upward curve in Figure 2 records the retention of knowledge, which is the “revision curve.” We will find that after many reviews, the amount of knowledge retained in the brain will show an upward trend. Ideally, after 5 reviews, the memory retention rate can reach 100%.

Therefore, according to the natural law of brain forgetting, we find that the frequency of scientific review is dense first and sparse. For example, review the first time within 5-10 minutes, the second time within 24 hours, the third time within one week, the fourth time within one month, and the fifth time within 3-6 months. Review again, so that the memory can be better maintained.

Two review methods
After knowing the frequency of scientific review, we can apply it to specific knowledge memory. This can be divided into two situations: the review of explicit knowledge points and the review of systematic knowledge.

For explicit core knowledge points, such as mathematical formulas, chemical equations and English words, we mainly use the method of direct repetition to keep looking back. Strive to do it: Recall accurately, not bad at all.

For systematic knowledge, such as literary literacy, English reading comprehension, and scientific problem-solving thinking, we’d better consolidate memory through indirect fancy review methods, and let knowledge appear in our minds in various forms, thereby constructing a three-dimensional knowledge The internet.

The benefits of forgetting
Although we always hope that we have good memory skills, forgetting is actually an important function of our brain.

First, the existence of forgetting is to maintain the vitality of the brain.

A large amount of information enters our brain every day, occupying a lot of our thinking resources, so the brain has to clean up the memory every day in order to maintain the high-speed operation ability. Some people with brain diseases cannot automatically forget and clean up information, and will be annoyed by the interference of various unimportant information. For example, the appearance of everyone I met, the content of the street signs, and every sentence I heard yesterday all convolved in my mind, affecting normal thinking.

Figure 2 Review the correction curve

From this point of view, the brain is far more advanced than current electronic devices. Because its memory cleaning is completely automatic. Through an efficient screening mechanism, the brain allows us to maintain a continuous high memory operating state.

Second, forgetting pushes us to reorganize knowledge and carry out selective memory.

Under the law of natural forgetting in the brain, we will stimulate the subjective initiative of learning, constantly thinking about which knowledge we like, and then continue to emphasize and review, and at the same time filter out which knowledge we don’t need, and automatically abandon it.

Gradually, everyone will establish their own unique knowledge system. In addition, we will master the methods to cultivate our own expertise.

As a student, good memory is an ability for us to learn, but the process of forgetting knowledge is indeed inevitable. As long as we master the scientific method of anti-forgetting, we can improve the forgetting phenomenon through regular review. In this way, knowledge can move from short-term memory to long-term memory, and it is possible to overcome the phenomenon of forgetting.