Styles of learning, Models of memory, Causes of forgetting.


Style of Learning

Learning styles are the different ways people interpret, organize and represent information. For example, some people learn best by having information presented to them in audio form, such as in a classroom lecture or audio book. Others need hands-on experience or real-world contexts to fully grasp a new concept.

There are seven types of learning styles which are as flows:-

  1. Visual (Spatial) : These people prefer to use pictures, images, diagrams, colors and mind maps.
  2. Physical (Kinesthetic) : These people are the “learn by doing” people that use their body to assist in their learning, Drawing diagrams, using physical objects or role playing are all strategies of the Physical learner.
  3. Aural (auditory-musical) : People who prefer using sound, rhythms, music, recordings, clever rhymes
  4. Verbal ( Linguistic) : The verbal learner is someone who prefers using words, both in speech an in writing to assist in their learning. They make the most of word based techniques, scripting and reading content aloud.
  5. Logical (Mathematical) : The people who prefer using logic, reasoning and “systems” to explain or understand concepts. They aim to understand the reasons behind the learning, and have a good ability to understand the bigger picture.
  6. Social (Interpersonal) : These people are the ones who enjoys learning in groups or with other people, and aim to work with others as much as possible.
  7. Solitary (Intrapersonal): The solitary learners prefer to learn alone and through self-study.

A frequently-mentioned learning style model is the VAK/VARK model proposed by Neil Fleming in 1992, which divides people into visual, auditory, read/write or kinaesthetic learners.

Models of Memory

Memory refers to the set of processes involved in storing information. This specificprocess is termed as retention. Memory can be defined as a perceptually active mentalsystem that receives, encodes, modifies, and retrieves information. one can not directlyobserve the process of memory. It can be studied indirectly by measuring retention.Three basic methods of measuring retention are : Recall, Recognition, and Relearning.

Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) suggest that memory is made up of a series of and describe memory in terms of information flowing through a system.

Accordingly, it can be described as an information processing model (like a computer) with an input, process and output.

Psychologist Atkinson and Shiffrin (1968) suggests that memory is made up of a series of stores (see below), and describe memory in terms of information flowing through a system.

Accordingly, it can be described as an information processing model (like a computer) with an input, process and output.

Sensory input - Sensory memory - Short term memory  Long term memory

He has discovered that memory is not a single or unitary system. It has more than one distinct system. In other words, there are more than one type of memory. According to the most acceptable model of memory there are three major systems of memory : Sensory Memory; Short-Term Memory (STM), and Long-Term Memory(LTM). Information moves successively through these three systems if attention is given to the material. If attention (focused awareness) is not given, information does not move further into the system.

Sensory Memory :

A clear visual image of any object will last in sensory memory for about half a second after the stimulus is removed. Sensory memory holds representations of sensory input for very brief periods of time, depending upon the modality involved. There are different sensory registers for each of the senses.

Short-Term Memory (STM) :

It holds relatively small amounts of information for brief periods of time, usually 30secondsor less. This is the memory system that when look up the phone numbe rdial it. If it connected on the first instance the telephone number is forgotten.

However, if the line engaged for some time  and keep on dialing the number and through repeated dialing rehearsal of the telephone number it is pushed to the long-term memory (LTM) storage.

However, it has been found that short-term storage is more than a passive “holding area” (e.g. holding a telephone number). On the contrary, it involves active processingof information. This finding has led psychologists to use the term working memory.It means that something active goes on during the short-term memory.

Long – Term Memory (LTM) :

It refers to the memory system for the retention of Large amounts of information for long periods of time. It is the memory system that permits to remember events that happened many years ago, yesterday, last year, and so on. It is the long-term memory that allows us to remember factual information making it possible for us to learn different subjects, appear for examinations andcommunicate with others. It brings continuity and meaning to our life.

When human pay attention to a piece of information and engage in active rehearsal the Material is stored in the long-term memory (LTM). Information in the sensory memory Enters short-term memory when it becomes the focus of the attention. If person does not pay attention to the incoming sensory information, the material fades and quickly Disappears. One has to pay attention to certain information and not to the other.

Paying attention to certain aspects of the world is what we call. “selective attention”. The information from STM is often rehearsed by us. This rehearsal helps the transfer of that information from STM to LTM.


In recent years psychologists have conceptualized memory into four types as given below

:Semantic : This deals with knowledge, meaning and generalized experiences. What ever we remember from books and information about world events and meanings of words are included in it.

Episodic : It refers to the experiences which are personal to an individual. You do so many things in a day. They are your unique experiences. Memory of such experiences is accessible by you only. They are part of your episodic memory.

Procedural : This deals with memory for actions or ways of doing certain things or performing certain activities.

Meta Memory : It is memory for your memory. We not only remember things but also remember that we can remember. People may be good or poor in understanding their own memories.

Causes of Forgetting

Forgetting is the inability to remember. Psychologists generally use the term forgetting to refer to the apparent loss of information already encoded and stored in long- term memory.

The main causes of forgetting are :

1 Retrieval Faliue

2 Ineffective Encoding

3 Interference

4 Decay or Fading

5Motivated Forgetting

6 Amnesia

  1. Retrival Faliure

The inability to retrieve a memory is one of the most common causes of forgetting. Retrieval failure is the failure to recall a memory due to missing stimuli or cues that were present at the time the memory was encoded. With retrieval failure, the information still exists inmemory, but just not readily without specific cues. A good retrieval cue will be consistent with the original encoding pf the information.

  1. Ineffective Encoding

The inability to remember information may sometimes have less to do with forgetting and more to do with the fact that is never made its way into long-term memory. This type of forgetting is caused because the person did not pay attention in the first palace. Encoding failure or ineffective coding may prevent information from entering long-term memory, and thus the information never being stored to be able to be retrieved at a later date.

  1. Interference

Interference occurs when information gets confused with other information in our long-term memory. The interference theory suggests that some memories compete and interfere with other memories, and that memory loss occurs when information stored either before or after a given memory hinders the ability to remember it. Essentially, cues for different memories may be too similar so a wrong memory gets retrieved.

There are two types of interference:

Proactive (when newly learned information makes people forget old information)

Retroactive (When old information makes people forget newly learned information)

Proactive interference is when an old memory makes it more difficult to remember new information. Current information is lost because it is mixed with previously learned information that may be similar.

Retroactive interference occurs when new information interference with the abilty to remember previously leaned information. Basically it occurs whaen information works backwards to interference with earlier information, so previously learned information is lost because it is mixed up with new and somewhat similar information.

  1. Decay Theory (Fading)

The decay theory suggests that when something new is learned, a memory “trace” is formed in the brain and over time the trace begins to fade and disappear, unless it is occasionally used. With this theory if information is not occasionally retrieved, it will eventually be lost. The decay theory explains the loss of memories from sensory and short-term memory, but not from long term memory.

With the decay theory, when information fades from long-term memory, what really fades is the link to that information, not the information itself. The information is there, but we just cannot find it.



  1. Motivated Forgetting

The Motivated Forgetting theory suggests people forget because they push unpleasant thoughts and feeling deep into their unconscious. People may actively work to forget memories, especially those of traumatic or disturbing events or experience.

The two basic forms of motivated forgetting are:

Suppression: a conscious form of forgetting.

Repression: an unconscious form of forgetting.

  1. Amnesia

The term amnesia refers to loss of memory. It is a kind of memory disorder which occurs from a loss of what has already been stored. There are two kinds of amnesia.

  1. Psychological amnesia:

This kind of amnesia takes place as a result of major disturbances in the process of encoding, storage and retrieval. There are different kinds of psychological amnesia:

(ii) Biological amnesia:

This amnesia is caused due to abnormal functioning of brain. Such abnormality may be due to causes such as, a blow on the head, temporary disturbances in blood supply to brain, certain drugs like, marijuana, alcohol, brain diseases and some other damages to brain.

These problems may result in amnesia called transient global amnesia which is a profound memory loss.

It is called global because all the stored information is lost and no new memories can be formed during this state. There are two types of such amnesia —

Anterograde amnesia in which there will be inability to store new information from after the incident, and

Retrograde amnesia in which there will be forgetting of the past memories before the incident.

Chronic alcoholism produce brain damage and leads to a disorder called Korsakoff syndrome in which memory loss is predominant. Arteriosclerosis and Senile dementia due to age and Alzheimer’s disease caused due to brain disease also cause amnesia.

In addition to these causes-passages of time, disuse, relative inactivity, absence of appropriate stimuli, obliterating memory stimuli, emotional shock, set or preparedness of the individual, meaningless material, etc. may also cause forgetting.



Classification and types of motives, Theories of work motivation, Assessment of motivation

A need or motive directs us to act or behave in a particular way towards a certain goal or in other terms “It indicates the inner state of mind that energizes, activates or moves a person and directs his behavior towards goals.”


There are two types-

Intrinsic and Extrinsic

Extrinsic Motivation is geared toward external rewards and rein forcer’s. Some examples of external rewards are money, praise, awards, etc. Some examples of external rein forcer’s are policy and procedures, disciplinary action, speeding tickets, boundary-setting, etc.

Intrinsic Motivation is geared toward internal rewards and reinforcer’s. Some examples of internal rewards are enjoyment, achievement, a sense of competence. Some examples of internal reinforcer’s are “Shoulds”, “Musts”, & “Oughts”, a guilty conscience, and Toxic Shame.


Psychologists have divided motives into three types—Biological motives, social motives and personal motives!

The goal may be fulfilment of a want or a need. Whenever a need arises the organism is driven to fulfil that want or need. If there is no need in the organism, there will be no behaviour. For example, Horse and water. Horse does not drink water unless it has thirst or if it is not motivated. Unlike the external stimuli, the motives are limited.

The behaviour to fulfil such needs is mechanical and alike in all the organisms. Hunger is a motive which stimulates the organism to have food. We develop hunger when the food that was taken earlier is exhausted.

The need for food drives us to go in search of food and to have it. Here the hunger motive not only initiated the action, but also continued until the goal (having food) is reached. The motives are powerful forces.

They do not allow us to stop our action or behaviour until the need is satisfied. Hence, they are called the ‘dynamos’ of behaviour.

  1. Biological Motivation and Homeostasis:

Biological motives are called as physiological motives. These motives are essential for the survival of the organism. Such motives are triggered when there is imbalancement in the body. The body always tends to maintain a state of equilibrium called “Homeostasis”- in many of its internal physiological processes.

This balance is very essential for the normal life. Homeostasis helps to maintain internal physiological processes at optimal levels. The nutritional level, fluid level, temperature level, etc., are maintained at certain optimal level or homeostasis levels. When there is some variation in these levels the individual is motivated for restoring the state of equilibrium.

  1. Hunger motive:

We eat to live. The food we take is digested and nutritional substances are absorbed. The biochemical processes get their energy from the food in order to sustain life. When these substances are exhausted, some imbalancement exists.

We develop hunger motive in order to maintain homeostasis. This is indicated by contraction of stomach muscles causing some pain or discomfort called hunger pangs. Psychologists have demonstrated this phenomenon by experiments.

  1. Thirst motive:

In our daily life regularly we take fluids in the form of water and other beverages. These fluids are essential for our body tissues for normal functioning. When the water level in the body decreases we develop motive to drink water.

Usually thirst motive is indicated by dryness of mouth. Experiments by psychologists have shown that just dried mouth getting wetted is not enough. We need to drink sufficient quantity of water to satiate our thirst.

  1. Need for oxygen:

Our body needs oxygen continuously. We get it through continuous respiration. Oxygen is necessary for the purification of blood. We cannot survive without regular supply of oxygen. Lack of oxygen supply may lead to serious consequences like damage to brain or death.

  1. Motive for regulation of body temperature:

Maintenance of normal body temperature (98.6°F or 37.0°C) is necessary. Rise or fall in the body temperature causes many problems. There are some automatic mechanisms to

regulate body temperature, like sweating when the temperature rises above normal or, shivering when it falls below normal.

These changes motivate us to take necessary steps. For example, opening of windows, put on fans, take cool drinks, remove clothes, etc., when the temperature increases to above normal level; and closing doors and windows, wear sweaters, take hot beverages when temperature falls down. In this way we try to regulate the body temperature.

  1. Need for sleep:

Sleep is an essential process for normal functioning of body and mind. When our body and mind are tired they need rest for rejuvenation of energy. It is observed that there is excess accumulation of a toxin called ‘Lactic acid’ when tired.

After sleep it disappears and the person becomes active. Sleep deprivation also leads to psychological problems like confusion, inability to concentrate, droopy eyelids, muscle tremors, etc.

  1. Need for avoidance of pain:

No organism can continue to bear pain. Whenever we experience pain we try to avoid it. We are motivated to escape from painful stimulus. For example, when we are under hot sun we go to shade. When something is pinching we avoid it.

  1. Drive for elimination of waste:

Our body cannot bear anything excess or anything waste. Excess water is sent out in the form of urine or sweat. So also digested food particles after absorption of nutritional substances are sent out in the form of stools. We experience discomfort until these wastes are eliminated.

  1. Sex motive:

This is a biological motive, arises in the organism as a result of secretion of sex hormones-like androgens and estrogens. Sex need is not essential for the survival of the individual, but it is essential for the survival of the species. However, fulfilment of the sex need is not like satisfying hunger or thirst.

The society and the law exercise certain codes of conduct. Human being has to adhere to these rules. Usually this need is fulfilled through marriage.

  1. Maternal drive:

This is an instinct or an inborn tendency. Every normal woman aspires to become a mother. Psychologists have Motivation, Emotion and Attitudinal Processes. It is learnt from related studies that, this is a most powerful drive. That is why in many cases the women who cannot bear children of their own, will sublimate that motive and satisfy it through socially acceptable ways, like working in orphan schools, baby sittings or adopting other’s children.

  1. Social Motives:

Physiological motives discussed above pertain to both animals as well as human beings, but the social motives are specific only to human beings. These are called social motives, because they are learnt in social groups as a result of interaction with the family and society. That is why their strength differs from one individual to another. Many social motives are recognised by psychologists. Some of the common social motives are:

  1. Achievement motive:

Achievement motivation refers to a desire to achieve some goal. This motive is developed in the individual who has seen some people in the society attaining high success, reaching high positions and standards.

  1. Aggressive motive:

It is a motive to react aggressively when faced frustrations. Frustration may occur when a person is obstructed from reaching a goal or when he is insulted by others. Even in a fearful and dangerous do or die situation the individual may resort to aggressive behaviour.

  1. Power motive:

People with power motive will be concerned with having an impact on others. They try to influence people by their reputation. They expect people to bow their heads and obey their instructions.

  1. Acquisitive motive:

This motive directs the individual for the acquisition of material property. It may be money or other property. This motive arises as we come across different people who have earned a lot of money and leading a good life. It is a human tendency to acquire all those things which appear attractive to him.

  1. Curiosity motive:

This is otherwise called stimulus and exploration motive. Curiosity is a tendency to explore and know new things. We see people indulge in a travelling to look at new places, new things and new developments taking place outside their environment.

In addition to the above there are some other social motives like need for self-esteem, social approval, self-actualization, autonomy, master motive, combat, defense, abasement, etc.

  1. Personal Motives:

In addition to the above said physiological and social motives, there are some other motives which are allied with both of the above said motives. These are highly personalized and very much individualized motives. The most important among them are:

  1. Force of habits:

We see different people having formed different habits like chewing tobacco, smoking, alcohol consumption, etc. There may be good habits also like regular exercising, reading newspapers, prayers, meditations, etc. Once these habits are formed, they act as drivers and compel the person to perform the act.

  1. Goals of life:

Every normal individual will have some goals in the life. They may be related to education, occupation, income, sports, acquisition of property, public service, social service, etc. Once a goal is set, he will be motivated to fulfil that goal. The goals people set, depend upon various factors like knowledge, information, guidance, support, personality, facilities available, aspirations, family and social background, etc.

  1. Levels of aspirations:

Aspiration is aspiring to achieve or to get something or a goal. But such achievement depends upon the level of motivation the individual has. Every individual will have a goal in his life and strive to reach that goal. But the effort to attain that goal varies from one individual to another. The amount of satisfaction he gains depends upon his level of aspiration.

  1. Attitudes and interests:

Our attitudes and interests determine our motivation. These are specific to individual. For example, a person within the family, may have positive attitude towards family planning and all others having negative attitudes.

So also, interests differ from one individual to another. Example, interest in sports, T.V, etc. Whenever we have a positive attitude, we will have motivation to attain. In negative attitude, we will be motivated to avoid. If a person is interested in music, he will be motivated to learn it. In this way, our personal motives determine our behaviour.


1) Maslow Need Hierarchy:

  1. a) Physiological needs- These are the basic needs of air, water, food, clothing and shelter. In other words, physiological needs are the needs for basic amenities of life.
  2. b) Safety needs- Safety needs include physical, environmental and emotional safety and protection. For instance- Job security, financial security, protection from animals, family security, health security, etc.
  3. c) Social needs- Social needs include the need for love, affection, care, belongingness, and friendship.
  4. d) Esteem needs- Esteem needs are of two types: internal esteem needs (self- respect, confidence, competence, achievement and freedom) and external esteem needs (recognition, power, status, attention and admiration).
  5. e) Self-actualization need- This include the urge to become what you are capable of becoming / what you have the potential to become. It includes the need for growth and self-contentment. It also includes desire for gaining more knowledge, social service, creativity and being aesthetic. The self- actualization needs are never fully satiable. As an individual grows psychologically, opportunities keep cropping up to continue growing.

2) ERG Theory of Motivation:

To bring Maslow’s need hierarchy theory of motivation in synchronization with empirical research, Clayton Alderfer redefined it in his own terms. His rework is called as ERG theory of motivation.

He recategorized Maslow’s hierarchy of needs into three simpler and broader classes of needs:

  1. a) Existence needs-

These include need for basic material necessities. In short, it includes an individual’s physiological and physical safety needs.

  1. b) Relatedness needs-

These include the aspiration individual’s have for maintaining significant interpersonal relationships (be it with family, peers or superiors), getting public fame and recognition. Maslow’s social needs and external component of esteem needs fall under this class of need.

  1. c) Growth needs-

These include need for self-development and personal growth and advancement. Maslow’s self-actualization needs and intrinsic component of esteem needs fall under this category of need.

3) Theory X and Y:

Douglas McGregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, first published in 1957 in his book “Human side of enterprise”. These two theories clearly distinguished traditional autocratic assumptions about the nature of people (Theory X) from more behaviourally based assumptions (Theory Y). The usefulness of the McGregor theories is his convincing arguments that most management actions flow directly from whatever theory of human behaviour managers hold.

  1. a) Theory X Assumptions: The average human being is inherently lazy by nature and desires to work as little as possible. He dislikes the work and will like to avoid it, if he can.
  2. b) Theory Y Assumptions: Work is as natural as play, provided the work environment is favourable. Work may act as a source of satisfaction or punishment. An average man is not really against doing work.

4) Herzberg’s two factor theory of motivation:

Herzberg extended work of Maslow and developed a specific content theory of work motivation. Herzberg interviewed 203 engineers and accountants. They were asked to recall a time when they felt exceptionally good for their work and the feeling associated.


  1. a) Hygiene factors-

Hygiene factors are those job factors which are essential for existence of motivation at workplace. These do not lead to positive satisfaction for long-term. But if these factors are absent / if these factors are non-existant at workplace, then they lead to dissatisfaction. In other words, hygiene factors are those factors which when adequate / reasonable in a job, pacify the employees and do not make them dissatisfied. These factors are extrinsic to work. Hygiene factors are also called as dissatisfiers or maintenance factors as they are required to avoid dissatisfaction. These factors describe the job environment / scenario. The hygiene factors symbolized the physiological needs which the individuals wanted and expected to be fulfilled. Hygiene factors include:

Pay, Fringe benefits, Status, Job security, Interpersonal relations, Physical working conditions.

  1. b) Motivational factors-

According to Herzberg, the hygiene factors cannot be regarded as motivators. The motivational factors yield positive satisfaction. These factors are inherent to work. These factors motivate the employees for a superior performance. These factors arecalled satisfiers. These are factors involved in performing the job. Employees find these factors intrinsically rewarding. The motivators symbolized the psychological needs that were perceived as an additional benefit. Motivational factors include:

Recognition, Sense of achievement, Growth and promotional opportunities,Responsiblities, meaningfulness of the work.

The result to two category:

Job Satisfiers (Motivators)

Job dissatisfier (Hygiene Factors)

Motivators are things that create positive feelings; hygiene factors were associated with work context and environment.

5) Vroom’s Valence Expectancy Theory :

Victor vroom presented an Expectancy theory (1964) for understanding the human behavior and motivation.

Vroom’s Motivation Formula: Force(motivation)=Valence(value) x Expectancy (probability) x Instrumentality(relationship between performance and reward)

The Expectancy theory is based on three important propositions, these are: valence, expectancy and instrumentality.

  1. a) Valence: Valence refers to the emotional orientations people hold with respect to outcomes [rewards]. Management must discover what employee’s value.
  2. b) Expectancy: Employees have different expectations and levels of confidence about what they are capable of doing. Management must discover what resources, training, or supervision employees need.
  3. c) Instrumentality: The perception of employees as to whether they will actually get what they desire even if it has been promised by a manager. Management must ensure that promises of rewards are fulfilled and that employees are aware of that.


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