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.


  1. 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.



  1. Aural (auditory-musical) : People who prefer using sound,  rhythms, music, recordings, clever rhymes and so on.


  1. 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.



  1. 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.


  1. 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.



  1. 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 specific

process is termed as retention. Memory can be defined as a perceptually active mental

system that receives, encodes, modifies, and retrieves information. one can not directly

observe 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 memoryLong 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 30

secondsor less. This is the memory system that when look up the phone number

dial 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 processing

of 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 and

communicate 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



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 in memory, 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.


i. 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.




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