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ERIC Number: EJ778713
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Aug
Pages: 58
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0010-0285
Forgetting Curves: Implications for Connectionist Models
Sikstrom, Sverker
Cognitive Psychology, v45 n1 p95-152 Aug 2002
Forgetting in long-term memory, as measured in a recall or a recognition test, is faster for items encoded more recently than for items encoded earlier. Data on forgetting curves fit a power function well. In contrast, many connectionist models predict either exponential decay or completely flat forgetting curves. This paper suggests a connectionist model to account for power-function forgetting curves by using bounded weights and by generating the learning rates from a monotonically decreasing function. The bounded weights introduce exponential forgetting in each weight and a power-function forgetting results when weights with different learning rates are averaged. It is argued that these assumptions are biologically reasonable. Therefore power-function forgetting curves are a property that may be expected from biological networks. The model has an analytic solution, which is a good approximation of a power function displaced one lag in time. This function fits better than any of the 105 suggested two-parameter forgetting-curve functions when tested on the most precise recognition memory data set collected by Rubin, Hinton, and Wenzel (1999). Unlike the power-function normally used, the suggested function is defined at lag zero. Several functions for generating learning rates with a finite integral yield power-function forgetting curves; however, the type of function influences the rate of forgetting. It is shown that power-function forgetting curves cannot be accounted for by variability in performance between subjects because it requires a distribution of performance that is not found in empirical data. An extension of the model accounts for intersecting forgetting curves found in massed and spaced repetitions. The model can also be extended to account for a faster forgetting rate in item recognition (IR) compared to associative recognition in short but not long retention intervals.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A