What Are The Causes of Forgetting?

What Are The Causes of Forgetting?

There are many possible causes of forgetting. Some of these causes are:

1) Lack of Attention:

If you are not paying attention to what you are doing, you will likely forget it. For instance, if you are studying for an exam but are also listening to music or chatting with friends, you will be less likely to remember the information that you learned.

2) Emotional State:

When you are feeling emotional, such as when you are sad, angry, or anxious, it can be difficult to focus on anything else. This can lead to forgetting important information or tasks.

3) Stress:

When you are stressed out, it is difficult to concentrate on anything else. This can lead to forgetting about important events, meetings, deadlines, etc.

4) Fatigue:

When you are feeling tired or exhausted from a lack of sleep, it is also difficult to concentrate on anything else. This can lead to forgetting about certain tasks and appointments.

5) Alcohol / Drug Use:

Using substances such as alcohol and drugs can cause memory loss which may result in the inability to recall information that you have learned previously. In extreme cases this can also causes amnesia. For instance, if you drink too much at a party and then cannot remember what happened the next day- this is alcohol-induced amnesia. If someone takes illegal drugs such as ketamine or MDMA (ecstasy), they may experience temporary amnesia as a side effect.

6) Medical Conditions:

There are certain medical conditions that can cause forgetfulness. For instance, if you have a head injury, this can lead to memory problems. Dementia is another condition that can cause forgetfulness.

7) Age:

As you get older, it is natural for your memory to start to decline. This does not mean that you will necessarily start forgetting things, but it does mean that it may take you longer to learn new information and to remember things that happened previously.

8) Memory Problems:

If you are having trouble remembering things that happened recently, or if you find it difficult to focus and concentrate on tasks, then it is possible that you are experiencing memory problems. Memory problems can be caused by Alzheimer’s disease.

9) Brain Injury:

If you have suffered any kind of injury to your head or brain, it is possible that this has caused damage to parts of your brain that are responsible for memory.

10) Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD):

If you have ADHD, then you may find it difficult to pay attention to information that you are supposed to remember. You may also be impulsive and struggle with hyperfocus which can cause trouble concentrating on tasks for a long time period. Some people with ADHD also have co-occurring learning disabilities such as dyslexia which can lead to problems remembering things associated with reading and writing tasks. Childhood trauma is a risk factor for developing ADHD in adulthood.

List the three causes of forgetting:


2.Organizational loss

3.Motivational loss

4.Retrieval failure

5.Failure to use previous learning

What is the difference between interference and decay? – Interference disrupts memory where as decay simply decreases it over time, but does NOT interfere with memory. Decay can sometimes help retrieval because you don’t have to sift through as much information in your memory bank if there has been some forgetting that happens between first learning and remembering again after some time has passed. This then makes it easier to retrieve the desired information because there’s not as much information clogging up your brain bank which must be searched through before finding the desired information from a given event or period of time.

What are the three types of interference? 

1. Proactive:

This form of interference occurs when newly learned information restricts your ability to recall older, related memories. An example often given is that of a student who has trouble recalling vocabulary words she recently learned because they interfere with her recollection of the same word as it appears in a foreign language course she’s also taking.

If you learn vocabulary associated with one subject (say math), and then learn vocabulary for another subject (say biology), there can be some “cross-talk” between these memory banks where, for example, the math word “chord” makes it harder to remember the term used in geometry: “secant”.


This occurs when older memories disrupt your ability to recall recent events.

3.Output interference:

Output Interference is when you have difficulty recalling information because it’s been displaced by new incoming information. For example, a student trying to complete an assignment after studying for a history test may find herself struggling because she can’t retrieve the work that she had completed before studying for the test.

What are some ways to minimize proactive and output interference? 

Eventually, practice in retrieving will help you circumvent these types of interference in the future, but since they’re essentially caused by competition within your memory banks, minimizing them also entails minimizing potential sources of such competition (i.e., simply reducing how much you study/learn). Thus, avoiding overload on your memory banks is key to minimizing these forms of interference.

What are the three different types of retrieval failure? 

1. Absent-minded forgetting :

This occurs when you fail to remember something because you weren’t paying attention in the first place, whether that means thinking about other things at the time or simply not being motivated to focus on what you’re supposed to be remembering.

For example, a student may fail to come up with her assigned lab partner’s name after class even though she knew it earlier because she was too busy socializing with friends instead of focusing on doing her homework assignment. Another common example is where students forget answers on tests despite having studied for them if they were preoccupied during study sessions.

2.Retrieval failure due to impaired cue use:

This happens when previous learning interferes with your ability to recall information based on the cues you’re given. For example, if you study for a test and learn key words that will be associated with specific answers, but when asked for those answers are unable to retrieve them because the “cue” (the learned words) no longer match what’s being asked of you in terms of retrieval context.

3.Retrieval failure due to item-specific processing deficits :

This is similar to #2 in that it involves interference within long-term memory which impedes successful recall at some later point, but unlike 2 it’s not due to some sort of general impairment in cue use. Instead, this third type of retrieval failure is caused by factors that affect our ability to process information at the time we’re trying to remember it, such as distraction due to anxiety or stress.

Forgetting disease:

“forgetting disease” is a term coined in the 1800s and refers to age-related memory impairment in which an older adult progressively loses her ability to recall everyday events and update memories in long-term storage.

Cognitive structures:- Cognitive structures provide an organizational system that you can use to help you remember information when there’s no straightforward or thematically consistent way it has been encoded (e.g., if you’re given a list of random words, like “tree,” “red,” “shoe,” etc.). Moreover, these structures serve as retrieval cues when we need to remember information we learned at some point but aren’t able to recall immediately – i.e., they function as mnemonics.

Study tip :

if you’re looking to remember lists of things (e.g., grocery items, types of clouds, presidents’ names, etc.) try creating mental images for each item on the list and see if these help you remember it. For example, imagine a giant red shoe next to George Washington’s face or an image of Bill Clinton holding up your cereal box while eating ice cream.

Imagery mnemonics:- Imagery mnemonic is based on the idea that imagery can be used as a cue for remembering information . This includes everything from visualizing where objects are located in physical space (i.e., “spatial imagery”), which can help with recalling geographical details about places you’ve previously visited; to imagining how things feel, look, or smell in order to remember specific details about them.

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