The Science Behind Forgetting

Maria Eastman·

Forgetting is an all too common part of daily life.

Sometimes these memory slips are simple and fairly innocuous, such as forgetting to return a phone call. Other times, forgetting can be more painful, such as forgetting a friend’s birthday.

Even with the most diligent to-do lists, forgetting can still occur. Why? We turned to science to break it down.

Forgetting typically involves a failure in memory retrieval. While the information is somewhere in your long-term memory, you are not able to actually retrieve and remember it.

Of course, many factors can contribute to forgetting. Sometimes you might be distracted when you learned new information or wrote  down a to-do list, meaning that you never truly retained the information long enough to remember it later.

blank post-its on a wall
Sometimes we go to write down a to-do list and completely forget the tasks we wanted to accomplish.

One well-known theory of forgetting is called the Interference Theory.

Have you ever written down a to-do list, lost that to-do list, and later tried to recall what was on it? In all likelihood, you were probably able to easily recall the first and last items on your to-dos list, but you might have forgotten many of the items in the middle. This is an example of the Interference Theory.

The first thing you wrote down and the last thing you wrote down stand out as being more distinct, while the fourth item and seventh item might seem so similar that they interfere with each other.

If you’re someone that has used the notes app on your phone or handwritten to-do lists, you’ve probably had this memory slip happen to you.

Eliminating interference altogether is impossible. We are not designed to remember everything due to the nature of our short-term memories. Nobody is capable of remembering everything so why not use a calendar app like Arrange as an external memory aid? Arrange was created to remind you of things that you might otherwise forget, whether that’s forgetting to do something in time or just not thinking of something altogether

Forgetting is simply a part of life. The abundance of information and tasks vying for our attention can create competition between old and new memories.

Arrange help relieve the burden of having to remember by prompting you with reminders, first through our gallery of plans and then through your calendar with reminders timed to your target completion dates.

Browse Arrange’s gallery of plans and you never know what you might be reminded of!

Like our blog? Then you’ll probably enjoy Arrange, too.

Browse to-dos, reminders, and more. Then seamlessly add tasks to your calendar in a few taps or clicks.