Memory is a Mudtrap - On the Time Course of Forgetting

  • Christian Kärnbach (Allgemeine Psychologie, Universität Leipzig, & Institut für Psychologie, Universität Bonn)
A3 02 (Seminar room)


The time course of forgetting is known since Ebbinghaus' classical studies in the late 19th century and has been confirmed hundreds of times. In contrast to many relaxation processes in physics the time course is not exponential but more of the form of a power law. Many formulas have been suggested to describe the time course of forgetting, but no theory exists to predict any of them.

In this talk I will present a neuronal net as a tool to study the dynamics of memory. The equivalence between this net and diffusion processes is explained, and then new developments in the domain of kinetics are applied to this memory model, resulting in the well-known forgetting curves of Ebbinghaus and his followers.