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Forgetting is an inevitable part of life which the majority of us experience on a day to day basis What we forget is often specific to a particular person however it is why we forget which attracts the attention of psychologists To understand how the memory system works it is important to look at some of the reasons why we loose information There are several methods to explain this one of them being displacement In other words materials currently circulating in short-term memory which has been insufficiently processed to pass onto the long-term memory will be pushed out or displaced by new incoming information This can be tied with Millers theory of capacity Millers magic number seven Miller claims that short-term memory has a capacity of only seven items therefore incoming items will have to displace the existing ones Waugh and Norman were two of many psychologists whom investigated the idea of displacement They used a serial probe technique and came to the following conclusions The chance of recall for an early probe is less than 20 yet the chance of recall for a late probe is 80 proving the displacement theory to be correct However Shallice 1967 found some conflicting information He discovered that if the digits were read out faster to a participant then the probe digit would be easier to remember This suggests that time may be an important factor in forgetting which in turn makes it difficult to isolate the effects of displacement from decay This brings me to talk about my second explanation of forgetting in short-term memory - decay This is where the memory trace fades away with time so that the memory is no longer available It is thought to be some kind of structural change which occurs in the brain when memory is laid down Peterson and Peterson conducted an experiment using the Brown-Peterson technique They concluded that if rehearsal is prevented then information vanishes rapidly from
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