Forgetting or disremembering is the apparent loss or modification of information already encoded and stored in an individual's long-term memory. It is a spontaneous or gradual process in which old memories are unable to be recalled from memory storage. Forgetting also helps to reconcile the storage of new information with old knowledge. Problems with remembering, learning and retaining new information are a few of the most common complaints of older adults. Memory performance is usually related to the active functioning of three stages. These three stages are encoding, storage and retrieval. Many different factors influence the actual process of forgetting. An example of one of these factors could be the amount of time the new information is stored in the memory. Events involved with forgetting can happen either before or after the actual memory process. The amount of time the information is stored in the memory, depending on the minutes hours or even days, can increase or decrease depending on how well the information is encoded. Studies show that retention improves with increased rehearsal. This improvement occurs because rehearsal helps to transfer information into long-term memory – practise makes perfect.
It is subject to delicately balanced optimization that ensures that relevant memories are recalled. Forgetting can be reduced by repetition and/or more elaborate cognitive processing of information. Emotional states are just one of the many factors that have been found to effect this process of forgetting. As a disorder or in more severe cases this may be described as amnesia.
Forgetting functions (amount remembered as a function of time since an event was first experienced) have been extensively analyzed. The most recent evidence suggests that a power function provides the closest mathematical fit to the forgetting function.
It is inability to encode, to store and retrieve the previously learned information from long-term memory over varying periods of times.