description of the law of Hermann Ebbinghaus and the technique of repetition. How does the curve reflect the process of forgetting information?

How can you assim­i­late the nec­es­sary infor­ma­tion once and for all, how not to put unnec­es­sary knowl­edge in your head? Sure­ly such ques­tions tor­ment not only stu­dents and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of men­tal labor. The Ger­man psy­chol­o­gist Her­mann Ebbing­haus gave the answer back in the 19th cen­tu­ry. He built the so-called “for­get­ting curve”.

What it is?

The Ger­man was inter­est­ed in how a per­son­’s mem­o­ry works, what he remem­bers and for­gets in the first place, and what is more dif­fi­cult. In order to under­stand this process, the sci­en­tist con­duct­ed var­i­ous exper­i­ments. For starters, he gave his wards the task of learn­ing a series of com­plete­ly mean­ing­less syl­la­bles. He com­posed them from two con­so­nants and one vow­el.

One of the con­di­tions was com­plete non­sense — com­bi­na­tions of sounds should not have caused an asso­ci­a­tion with any exist­ing word. There­fore, he sug­gest­ed such syl­la­bles as “ken”, “hat”, “zyf”, “chuts”, “fut” and so on.

The task of the sub­jects was to mem­o­rize them one hun­dred per­cent and pro­nounce them with­out a sin­gle hes­i­ta­tion. More­over, this was always done at the same time, under the same exter­nal con­di­tions.

Thus, an enthu­si­as­tic psy­chol­o­gist tried to exclude fac­tors influ­enc­ing the process of mem­o­riza­tion from the out­side — noth­ing affects the process itself.

If the set of mean­ing­less words end­ed, then the sci­en­tist changed their places and asked those present to learn them too. After the par­tic­i­pants of the exper­i­ment coped with the task, they had anoth­er test. Repeat an unre­lat­ed speech after a cer­tain amount of time. So Her­mann Ebbing­haus dis­cov­ered his curve, which reflects the process of for­get­ting infor­ma­tion by a per­son. The graph looks like this.

The fastest way for our brain to part with infor­ma­tion is with­in an hour of receiv­ing it. It cuts off most of the about 60% unnec­es­sary infor­ma­tion. After 10 hours, he leaves only 35% of the text we mem­o­rized. But then the process slows down a lot. Even after 6 days, about 20% remains in the head a set of syl­la­bles received almost a week ago.

Inter­est­ing­ly, this result remains vir­tu­al­ly unchanged and in a month. The brain will still pro­duce 20% of the set of sounds. How­ev­er, this was not the only pur­pose of the study.

There were sev­er­al tasks.

  • To study how much, in prin­ci­ple, the human brain is ready to con­tain.
  • Find out what needs to be done to extend the reten­tion time of this infor­ma­tion. The Ger­man spe­cial­ist used the rep­e­ti­tion method for this.
  • Set rep­e­ti­tion peri­ods for bet­ter mem­o­riza­tion of infor­ma­tion.
  • Find out how the infor­ma­tion should be arranged so that it is eas­i­er to remem­ber.

Repetition techniques

To break the laws of for­get­ting, obtained as a result of con­struct­ing his curve, Ebbing­haus derived anoth­er rule — the preser­va­tion of the infor­ma­tion received.

In the Russ­ian inter­pre­ta­tion, it sounds like this: “rep­e­ti­tion is the moth­er of learn­ing.”

Now psy­chol­o­gists advise two sched­ules of rep­e­ti­tions. The first one is best for those who needs to get the job done quick­ly, and the infor­ma­tion they received does not have to remain in mem­o­ry for­ev­er.

The sec­ond is more suit­able for those who have time to study and the need to use this knowl­edge for many years.

The “quick” method is designed for two days. The scheme is like this.

  1. The first rep­e­ti­tion is done imme­di­ate­ly after the book is closed.
  2. Repeat the sec­ond must be done after 20 min­utes.
  3. The third rep­e­ti­tion should take place 8 hours after the sec­ond.
  4. The fourth rep­e­ti­tion is car­ried out exact­ly one day after the third.

The method for a longer and more thor­ough mem­o­riza­tion at first is not much dif­fer­ent from the “faster” one, but then be more care­ful and patient, every­thing looks like this.

  1. The first rep­e­ti­tion is car­ried out imme­di­ate­ly after read­ing.
  2. Repeat the sec­ond one after 20 min­utes. It is pos­si­ble to increase the inter­val up to half an hour.
  3. The third takes place the next day.
  4. Repeat the fourth after anoth­er 2 weeks. It is pos­si­ble to increase the inter­val up to 3 weeks.
  5. The fifth rep­e­ti­tion must be done after 2 months. It is pos­si­ble to increase the inter­val up to 3 months.

But if you need to “reg­is­ter” some knowl­edge in your mem­o­ry for a long time, a scheme is suit­able for you, which was devel­oped by the Amer­i­cans Bob Sul­li­van and Hugh Thomp­son. To use such a scheme, how­ev­er, It is worth enter­ing all the dates of exe­cu­tion in the diary. The one on your phone will also work and be even more con­ve­nient, the elec­tron­ic diary will give you a sig­nal to act.

The chart looks like this.

  1. The first rep­e­ti­tion is car­ried out 5 sec­onds after read­ing the infor­ma­tion you need.
  2. The sec­ond rep­e­ti­tion is made after anoth­er 25 sec­onds.
  3. The third rep­e­ti­tion should be done 2 or 3 min­utes after the sec­ond.
  4. The fourth occurs after 10 min­utes.
  5. Do the fifth rep­e­ti­tion in anoth­er hour.
  6. Do not for­get to make the sixth after 5 hours.
  7. Rep­e­ti­tion num­ber 7 should take place in a day.
  8. Repeat the eighth after 5 days.
  9. The rep­e­ti­tion of num­ber 9 occurs when anoth­er 25 days have passed (that is, a month after the first acquain­tance with the mate­r­i­al).
  10. The tenth rep­e­ti­tion is car­ried out after anoth­er 4 months.
  11. Rep­e­ti­tion num­ber 11 is the final one. Must be done after 2 years.

If you use such a sched­ule, then the infor­ma­tion you learn will remain with you for the rest of your life.

There are a few oth­er tricks that the human brain has failed to hide from sci­en­tists.

Patterns of memorization

You will be able to use the devel­op­ments of sci­en­tists more effec­tive­ly in terms of facil­i­tat­ing mem­o­riza­tion if you know exact­ly what pat­terns exist for remem­ber­ing infor­ma­tion. There are sev­er­al of them, they are quite sim­ple.

  • A per­son remem­bers more and bet­ter mean­ing­ful texts than the same Ebbing­haus syl­la­bles, for exam­ple. I won­der if all of his sub­jects went through the exper­i­ment to the end? Per­haps some could not with­stand such an attack on the brain. The so-called “cram­ming” is much less effec­tive than mean­ing­ful mem­o­riza­tion.
  • The amount of infor­ma­tion and the rate of mem­o­riza­tion are not direct­ly depen­dent on each oth­er. That is, learn­ing two poems is not at all twice as dif­fi­cult as one. This will take more time and ener­gy than sim­ply mul­ti­ply­ing both by two. The more — the longer and more dif­fi­cult.
  • The num­ber of rep­e­ti­tions should be lim­it­ed. Rather, there will be no sense from exces­sive zeal. It is not worth read­ing for the hun­dredth time an excerpt from a book that you have already read to holes. The result will be no dif­fer­ent from the one you got after the twen­ti­eth rep­e­ti­tion, it will not get bet­ter.
  • The infor­ma­tion that we real­ly need is stored in our head for much longer than the infor­ma­tion that we need just to pass the exam. There­fore, if you want to remem­ber some­thing well, find a prac­ti­cal sub­se­quent use for it in life.
  • The vol­ume of stored infor­ma­tion in a cer­tain peri­od of time will be greater if this same infor­ma­tion is diverse. Change the top­ics of tasks, alter­nate them and then it will be eas­i­er for you to cope.
  • It is bet­ter to remem­ber what is at the begin­ning and clos­es the mate­r­i­al. Check for your­self, ask some­one to make you a list of 10 any words. Some­one to ask? Use the fol­low­ing set: “a light bulb, a key­board, a for­est, a shop, a desk, a rag, a head, a com­put­er, a broom, a gar­den.” Close your eyes and try to repro­duce what you read.

With a high degree of prob­a­bil­i­ty, the first thing that comes to your mind will be the words “light bulb” and “bed”. By the way, the dis­cov­ery of this pat­tern is also attrib­uted to Her­mann Ebbing­haus. In his writ­ings, it is called the edge effect.

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