Thursday, March 08, 2007

Remember what you have seen with your own eyes

Anyone else get frustrated by their memory sometimes? I remember silly things like car number plates, phonenumbers, childhood memories from the waybackdistantpast, birthdays of people I've lost touch with, people's names who I meet once and never see again... but then I forget many other things that I should remember, like to fill in important forms, deadlines, vocabulary in french, that I was meant to clean the bathroom the other day, names of people I see everyday... my dad always called it my "selective memory"...

I wonder if we really do choose to forget or remember or not... I don't find that to always be the case.

Hermann Ebbinghaus, a psychologist (or scientist if you prefer ;) ) discovered this ... the forgetting curve.

He discovered, or rather (as most psychologists seems to do), put into a theory, that forgetting; memory decline, is exponential in nature, as illustrated in the graph. A person learns a piece of material, and as time goes on, slowly their retention of the information declines. Obviously there is some variation in this, some people coughBreakeycoughPottercough have unusual memories allowing them to view material and retain more information for longer periods of time and others can sometimes view something and seem to instantly forget it yet this curve seems to generally be the case quand-même. According to the studies and curve we never completely forget everything we learned, but we don't retain very much of it.

This however is dramatically changed when the learned material is repeatedly reviewed. Sadly not being the Glasgow uni library right now means I cannot access the Web of Knowledge which I relied on so heavily in first and second year of psychology, and thus cannot illustrate the significant effect it has with with another beautiful graph. But I'm sure you would probably agree, it seems like common sense to me...

Now I have been experiencing uncharacteristic bouts of anxiety of late. Anxiety about the future more than anything else, both near and far-off... and I blame this on the forgetting curve.

Because I know God has been faithful to me throughout my life! When I look back, I see so evidently how He has taken care of me... The Lord's my Shepherd, I shall not be in want. Even when I've least expected it, that has been the case! Oh I was nervous before I came to France all right, and yet He has taken care of my every need and exceeded them in countless ways! So why can't I trust Him with the unknown this time?!

Because I forget who He is and what He has done for me... Check out the number of times the word "Remember" features in the book Deuteronomy! Clearly the Israelites needed to remember these things, and yet the history told in the bible tells us the Israelites forgot them all the time. I'd like to think I'm different... but life and silly anxiety and the Bible and even the science of psychology all seem to suggest that I'm really not... not really at all...

So I'm blogging this as a general reminder, not least to myself, to look at the past, at our own lives, at each others lives, at the bible, and to remember who God is and what He has done... what we have seen with our own eyes...

2 comments:

the Penman said...

To misquote, of all people, the Eagles: "Some of us think to remember, some of us think to forget."

Diana said...

Dish, I like the specification on the various varieties of Dianas. It made me laugh.