January 24, 2012 - Happy Birthday, Hermann Ebbinghaus

Don't forget this man's name!

Hermann Ebbinghaus was a pioneer. Not someone who strode out into the wilderness and built a log house, but a pioneer in the study of memory. Ebbinghaus was very curious about the fact that even good students forget 90% of what they learn in a classroom within 30 days, and he tried to figure out what he could about when and why we remember—and forget!

Ebbinghaus worked with the memorization of “nonsense syllables,” 3-letter syllables that didn't mean anything, such as YAT and KOJ. One thing that made his research less useful to later researchers is that he used only himself as test subject; it would be much better to use many different people so that the findings could be generalized to larger populations, and also it compromises research, to some extent, to have the same person acting as both researcher and subject!

Still, Ebbinghaus was able to describe findings that have stood up to later testing, such as the sharp (exponential) “forgetting curve” and “learning curve,” and the fact that we tend to remember the last and first items in a list longer than the middle items. He also studied “savings,” our ability to relearn things we had once learned and then forgotten.

Train your memory at Kids Memory Dot Com! 

Ebbinghaus also invented this illusion,
which is called the Ebbinghaus illusion!

Also on this date:

No comments:

Post a Comment