What are some of the major reasons why we forget information? One of today’s best known memory researchers, Elizabeth Loftus, has identified four major reasons why people forget: retrieval failure, interference, failure to store, and motivated forgetting.

1. Retrieval Failure

Have you ever felt like a piece of information has just vanished from memory? Or maybe you know that it’s there, you just can’t seem to find it. The inability to retrieve a memory is one of the most common causes of forgetting.

So why are we often unable to retrieve information from memory. One possible explanation retrieval failure is known as decay theory.According to this theory, a memory trace is created every time a new theory is formed. Decay theory suggests that over time, these memory traces begin to fade and disappear. If information is not retrieved and rehearsed, it will eventually be lost.

One problem with this theory, however, is that research has demonstrated that even memories which have not been rehearsed or remembered are remarkably stable in long-term memory.

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2. Interferance

Another theory known as interference theory suggests that some memories compete and interfere with other memories. When information is very similar to other information that was previously stored in memory, interference is more likely to occur.

There are two basic types of interference:   READ MORE…http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/tp/explanations-for-forgetting.htm