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The form of the forgetting curve and the fate of memories
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-18, 08:09 authored by Averell, L, Heathcote, A
Psychologists have debated the form of the forgetting curve for over a century. We focus on resolving three problems that have blocked a clear answer on this issue. First, we analyzed data from a longitudinal experiment measuring cued recall and stem completion from 1 min to 28 days after study, with more observations per interval per participant than in previous studies. Second, we analyzed the data using hierarchical models, avoiding distortions due to averaging over participants. Third, we implemented the models in a Bayesian framework, enabling our analysis to account for the ability of candidate forgetting functions to imitate each other. An exponential function provided the best fit to individual participant data collected under both explicit and implicit retrieval instructions, but Bayesian model selection favored a power function. All analysis supported above chance asymptotic retention, suggesting that, despite quite brief study, storage of some memories was effectively permanent.
Publication titleJournal of Mathematical Psychology
Department/SchoolTasmanian School of Medicine
PublisherAcademic Press Inc Elsevier Science
Place of publication525 B St, Ste 1900, San Diego, USA, Ca, 92101-4495
Rights statement© 2010 Elsevier Inc.