Trace Decay Theory of Forgetting

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  • Trace Decay Theory of Forgetting
    • Developed by Hebb, 1949
    • States that forgetting occurs as a result of decay in memory pathways in the brain
    • Memories are formed in the brain when neurons make connections with eachother
      • When one neuron is activated, others in the link are automatically activated, too
        • Pattern of activation is called a memory trace
    • Not a named study in the exam
    • The creation of new links between neurons causes a physical change within the brain structure
      • Physical change - an engram
    • Argues that forgetting occurs when a memory is not actively used
      • The physical traces between neurons begins to fade away and may be over-written by new memories
    • By actively accessing a memory, we strengthen the trace, making the memory readily available
    • Explains forgetting as a problem of availability
      • The information is lost completely from the memory system through disuse and passage of time


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