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I like the above article because it reminds us that rote and repetition are not necessarily the best tools for learning. Ebbinghaus’ theories, which were based on language and symbols, are still reasonable in considering training our dogs. Great food for thought!

Ebbinghaus found:

1. It takes longer to forget material after each subsequent re-learning. Thus, distributed learning rather than cramming is better strategy for exam preparation.

2. Fatigue decreases retention, while sleep after memorization actually increases it.

3. We tend to remember items at the beginning and end of a list at a higher frequency then those in the middle – this is called the serial position effect referring to a ‘primacy’ and ‘recency’ effect.

4. Changing the order of just a single syllable in a series dramatically hinders memory for the series – this was meant to test Herbart’s theory of association.

(PDF) Learning and Memory. Available from: [accessed Dec 20 2018].