Educators educating Educators

Jul 21

The 7-Second Rule




For further insights into this topic, refer to "Forgetting Curve" in Long-Term Memory


Remembering information initially

The first few moments of learning give us the ability to remember something and the first few seconds of encoding determines whether something that is initially processed will also be remembered.

Elaborate rehearsal is the most effective means of robust retrieval. Thinking or talking about an event immediately after it has occurred enhances memory for that event. Law enforcement officers know this well and utilize this principle by having a witness recall information as soon as possible after a crime.

Why is elaborate rehearsal (repetition) important? Memories may not be fixed at the moment of learning, but repetition, doled out in specific time intervals, is the fixative. Research has shown that the typical human braincan hold about 7 pieces of information for less than 7 seconds. You need to re-expose yourself to the information, which is called maintenance rehearsal.

Ebbinghaus showed the power of repetition almost 100 years ago. He created forgetting curves, which showed that a great deal of memory loss occurs in the first hour or two after the initial exposure and demonstrated that this loss could be lessened by elaborate and deliberate repetition. Furthermore, the timing of re-exposure is critical.





News

In case you get bored with the lazy days of summer and want to get a jump preparing for the coming school year, I added to Stuff4Educators a section called How to Study Better based on research from Harvard Medical School that highlights four science-backed ways towards better learning (Hint: drop the highlighter). Additionally, I posted a YouTube video under exercise from the Dana Foundation that won the Northwest Emmy award called Exercise and the Brain that explores the benefits of exercise on the brain and learning. Finally, some books that I have read this past year and found to be stimulating are listed.