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Learning by Repetition can Hinder Recalling Abilities

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 25, 2014
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

It may be wise for parents to tell their children to practice something repeatedly to be perfect at it, but a new study suggests that this may not be the best way to be a smart kid. According to researchers from the University of California-Irvine, learning by the very popular and common method of repetition may increase the factual content of the memories but make it difficult for one to recall the intricate details of the original content.


LearningA group of participants looked at pictures either once or thrice for the study. Once this was done, the researchers tested the participants on how well they can remember the pictures. The researchers found that the participants were able to recall the factual content of the picture better when they had seen them only once, but when they viewed the pictures multiple times, their memory faded and they could not distinguish the picture already seen from other similar pictures. This is what got the researchers to suggest that multiple viewing hinders the ability of a person to remember minute details of memory.


While explaining the phenomenon, the researchers said that repetition makes all the details of a memory more subjective, making them to compete with other similar memories. Repetition, they said, can also lead to development of false memories. The researchers also clarified that the findings of the study do not discourage practice of repetitive learning.


The lead author of the study, Michael Yassa, said, “Pure repetition alone has limitations. For a more enriching and lasting learning experience through which nuance and detail are readily recalled, other mnemonic techniques should be used to complement repetition”.


Even though rote memorization is not really a bad thing, it is always recommended that one use memory methods such as creating visual image or word associations of things that he/she is trying to remember.


The findings of the study were published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience.

Article source: hngn
Image source: Getty
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