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Forgetting

 

Explanations > Thinking > Forgetting

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

It can be very frustrating, but when you forget essential information, you impair your ability to think.

Even worse, when you forget that you ever knew such things, you may get trapped in the curse of ignorance, where you assume all you know is all there is to know.

Example

A person is told details of a range of hotels. They forget some of this and end up at an expensive but average quality accommodation.

A business negotiator forgets crucial details about their opponent and so gets unnecessarily beaten down.

Discussion

Human memory is not a simple recording device and we can easily forget things we were told even a few seconds ago. However, while we may never achieve perfect recall, much can be done to improve this situation.

The critical period is not when you are trying to recall something but during the encoding process. In other words, we should focus on memorizing rather than remembering. There are many memory techniques we can use here, and the best advice is to dedicate serious effort in exploring these methods to find which works best for you, then keep the effort up to get better still. It is hard work, but will eventually pay back in spades.

So what?

There are many memory methods you can use to help overcome forgetting, even of complex knowledge. A simple rule to prevent forgetting is the use of repetition. Build habits for these so you remember automatically. In persuasion, other people forgetting certain things may be useful. You can also use reminding to ensure people remember important things.

See also

Memory, Memory methods, Repetition principle

 

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