A Research Proposal on Forgetting

Psychology is one discipline that remains an essential component of human life. The various concepts addressed in psychology include forgetting, memory, language, knowledge, and intelligence among others. The above concepts explore the vital aspects of human being. The ideas revolve around the cognitive ability of people. Understanding such fundamental components of psychology provides answers to the numerous questions that people ask themselves. On the other hand, the act of forgetfulness proves common phenomenon in the modern society. Scholars have developed theories that attempt to explain the occurrence. Sigmund Freud attributed forgetting to such factor as displacement. Thus, the research proposal is focused on the various dynamics that contribute to forgetfulness and their possible remedies.

Understanding the causes of forgetfulness in human mind is a vital aspect of mankind. People have lost opportunities as a result of forgetting. On the other hand, many individuals suffer from the effects of forgetting in their social lives. One can forget to perform an important duty, thus causing chaos. Families have turned violent at one point or another following the act of forgetting. Naturally, investigating the causes of forgetting together with their remedies proves to be pivotal.

Furthermore, the research proposal incorporates various techniques that are aimed at using to obtain the facts concerning forgetting. The investigation approaches the concept without any disparity. It considers human being as a whole without factoring in gender or age aspects. The neutrality enables the researcher to generalize the findings so that they apply to all people. The proposal also touches on the works of various authors who have contributed in the same area of knowledge. Particularly, the review consists of articles that contain the required understanding regarding forgetting as a psychological component. It remains a strong belief that the research outcomes stand to offer solutions to the pending problems of forgetting.

Literature Review

McLeod (MacLeod, 2008) addresses the concept of forgetting by raising questions of why people forget. The author attaches two reasons in terms of why people forget. According to his interpretation, it either the memory disappeared, or there is difficulty in retrieving it from the memory system. Moreover, his analysis recognizes the existence of two types of memories, namely short-term and long-term. The author further expresses the likelihood of the first reason for forgetting to be applied to the short-term memory, while the second reason may be used with the long-term one. McLeod also revisits psychological theories that highlight the concepts of forgetfulness. The first theory that the author stresses is the trace theory of forgetting. The theory asserts that memory leaves a trace in the brain. Moreover, it attributes forgetting to automatic decay or fading of the memory trace. However, the author confirms the inadequacy of support of the body of knowledge while evaluating the theory. On the other hand, Saul evaluates additional theories relevant to the explanation of the forgetfulness as related to human beings. The other theories encompass displacement from STM, interference, and retrieval failure among others.

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The next literature that addresses forgetting as an aspect of psychology is the article written by Eysenck and Keane (Eysenck & Keane, 2005). In their analysis, two psychologists deal with the various theories that explain why people forget. They tackle such theories as interference, repression, CUE-dependent forgetting, encoding specificity principle, and consolidation. The authors begin by analyzing repression, a theory that Freud found useful in explaining forgetting. The theory ascertains that very threatening or anxiety-provoking material is often unable to gain access to conscious awareness. In their evaluation, the two concedes that there are several arguments for and against the interpretation. The authors recommend the need for developing techniques relevant to proving whether the recovered memories are genuine or false. The manner in which they analyze various theories in relation to forgetting provides an insight into the matter. Their arguments necessitate further investigations concerning the facts surrounding forgetting. In reality, the investigation remains valid for exploring the meaning and cause of forgetfulness in human beings. Additionally, both authors tackle the consolidation theory in explaining the concept of forgetting. This theory is the most popular one among neuroscientists. However, the authors note that it has been largely ignored by most cognitive psychologists. The article, therefore, fallibly approaches the psychological concept of forgetting, thereby proving its validity for review.

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Furthermore, Kendra Cherry (Cherry, 2015) begins from what intellectuals are likely to consider comical, but she also explains the reasons behind people forgetting. The author attributes forgetfulness to remembering certain phenomenon. In her opinion, an attempt to remember made by an individual leads to forgetfulness. On the other hand, the author recognizes different theories trying to explain the aspect of forgetfulness. Kendra recognizes the effort scientists have put forth while trying to explain the idea. She further explains the study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience by researchers from the University of Birmingham and the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge. The scholars utilized brain images to look at the adaptive mechanism of forgetting in the human brain. The author’s main idea lies in explaining how memories interfere with one another. Moreover, Cherry argues that when memories are not reinforced, they become weaker and are lost entirely. Reinforcement takes place through recalling, thus making the memories remain stronger. The author also uses ideas like memory not being passive and the concepts of the dream in explaining her thoughts. The article remains relevant to gaining an understanding concerning forgetfulness. The analytical procedures that the psychologist applies prove its relevance to the explanation.

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The next article on the matter is written by Christopher Heffner (Heffner, 2014). The author recognizes the inseparable aspects of memory and forgetting. In his article, Christopher addresses three fundamental aspects of psychology. In the first case, Heffner explains the principles underlying the concept of memory. Additionally, the author addresses the question of why we choose what we remember. Christopher finalizes his discussion by looking into the basics of forgetting as a component of psychology. However, the analysis only considers the section that highlights the principles of forgetting. According to Christopher, forgetting proves to be a rather natural phenomenon. The author opposes the burden associated with constant remembrance of occurrences, especially when they are negative. The article attributes forgetfulness to two conditions. In respect of the first one, Heffner argues that some ideas do not reach the long-term memory. On the other hand, he reasons that the concepts get to the long-term memory without attaching themselves to the required region. Further, the author argues that the information does not disappear forever by merely failing to remember the past. More so, he confirms that the information is available occasionally, but various reasons bar us from remembering. Heffner concludes that the possibility of distractions bars us from recalling numerous concepts.

Finally, fuzzy-trace theory article by Brainerd and Reyna forms the next review material (Brainerd and Reyna, 2015). The authors present a description of the modern status of fuzzy-trace theory. They organize their representation around fives topics. In their initial argument, they explain the theoretical ideas that immediately precede the development of fuzzy-trace theory. The evaluation of the experimental findings that challenged the idea forms their second area of concern. The concepts include memory-reasoning independence and the intuitive nature of mature reasoning among others. The next step entails describing the assumptions that comprised the initial version of fuzzy-trace theory. The duo also explains the possible modifications to those assumptions. Finally, Brainerd and Reyna explore areas of experimentation in which research under the theory is in progress. The four areas include suggestibility and false memories, judgment and decision making, the development of forgetting, and the development of retrieval. The article proves its relevance to the research since it touches on the sensitive aspects of forgetting.

Proposed Experiment Testing and Hypothesis

The experiment testing proves to be an essential component of the research. It involves designing an empirical method that remains capable of providing valid outcome. More so, performing the experiment needs proper regulation of the environment to avoid any bias. Accomplishing such psychological experiment is not an easy task since it involves the use of human beings. Controlling the environment would imply restricting their movements. Additionally, regulating their behaviors requires a lot of keenness. The experiment aims at applying the best design to enable the outcomes to remain scientifically viable. The experiment testing needs to factor in various principles that guide the process.

The research focuses on dealing with a group of students to accomplish its mission. Getting this group is easier compared to obtaining the other set of individuals. In the groups, an exercise that tests one’s ability to recall must be administered. However, the students must not have a prior knowledge of what the test aims at in terms of achieving. To realize the idea of the students not gaining prior knowledge, on should ensure neutrality, thus avoiding any experimental bias.

The process entails designing a list of tests and informing the students to prepare for examination after some time. The researcher then informs the students of the misconceived paper and gives them a new list of the expected test. However, during the test, the researcher includes the questions from both the lists and makes them compulsory. Controlling the environment requires the students to remain unaware of the researcher's intentions. More so, having them under the same environment ensures that external influences remain similar to them.

Hypothesis: Time and environment influence a person’s ability to forget.

Proposed Methods

The section deals with the useful methods for obtaining information regarding the research topic. The study aims at consulting the primary and secondary sources in getting substantial information that concerns forgetting. The primary sources include written documents containing such information as the research that is deemed worth for the process. The secondary sources entail consulting books with relevant knowledge on forgetting.

Observation and recording play vital roles in gathering information regarding the students’ behavior. Once the students sit for the paper, the next step entails recording their marks while identifying how they perform in terms of the questions they least expected. The examination will not take place in a common location. Another controlled environment proves to be useful for purposes of analysis. Changing of the environment also implies time variation for the tests. The useful parameters include time and environment that represent independent variables. On the other hand, the students’ performances signify independent variable that relies upon time and environmental factors.

Checking the work of the students and assigning appropriate answers provide the raw data for the research. The researcher will then analyze possible influences that such conditions have on the students. The concept considers the students’ performing the forgotten list and the one that they expected to be the source of examination. During the data analysis, the outcome will show whether there exists a correlation among the set conditions and the students’ performances. The process expects to analyze the results while considering diversity in the environmental setting. On the other hand, administering the examination during different periods confirms the variation in time factors that the research suggests the determinant of forgetting.

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The proposal contains assumptions that act as constant factors considered to have no influence on the recalling ability of an individual. It assumes that health conditions, age, and gender factors have no influence on the forgetting aspect of the students.     


The research focuses on performing an experiment in order to determine the causes of forgetting. Many people suffer from forgetfulness which causes them different problems. The research, therefore, aims at empirical investigating into the matter and making the necessary conclusion. Moreover, the proposal considers the previous works of forgetting that various intellectuals performed. Many pieces of literature that explain the theories of forgetting are available. However, the society requires advancement in every sector since the world is dynamic. Currently, people experience different situations that are likely to make them forget. The modern environment differs from the one of the previous times. These are such variations that make the research topic vital to present current findings.

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While presenting the research topic, the proposal finds five articles relevant to review. In the articles, the scholars attempt to highlight the various theories that explain forgetting. Thus, the proposal finds importance in reviewing the articles while aiming at gathering prior knowledge on the field of study. The contributions of the authors prove instrumental due to their presentation of knowledge regarding forgetting.

Furthermore, the proposal considers the use of students as the solution for proving the thesis. Students offer a better group for empirical research since finding them is easy. Additionally, they are easy to control since they share a lot in common. Administering any test to them also proves to be easier. The research aims at performing a series of experiments with the students as subjects. On the other hand, it is possible for one to control the students’ behavior, thereby ensuring the validity of the study.

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