Memory And The Problem Of Retentiveness

“Man is a composite of his Yesterdays.”

“One-half of all the new matter presented to the average mind is forgotten after the first half-hour; two-thirds within nine hours; three-quarters within six days, and four-fifths of all the new matter presented to the average mind is utterly forgotten after one month.”

This may seem to you to be rather a sweeping statement. It is! It is also a sad commentary on the average memory, but I am not merely expressing my own personal opinion, I am quoting no less an authority than Felix Arnold, noted psychologist, author, and teacher. So far as the statement goes in general application, I agree with hire. Very likely this statement might be modified in its application to my readers, for ” average minds ” do not read a book of this kind. It is hard to define ” average,” anyway, unless we accept the definition of the schoolboy who wrote, “Average is something that hens lays eggs on.” Nevertheless, I hope that I am able, as a writer, to express and impress the facts and principles of memory-training so clearly and forcefully that even average minds will retain them longer than half an hour or even six months.

I should regret to think that at the close of this chapter, or half an hour after reading the close of the chapter, any one would forget one-half of what I have written. I should be sorry to think that by to-morrow morning they would have forgotten two-thirds. I should hate to believe that before next week any one would have forgotten four-fifths of all the new matter that is presented. And my faith is firm that such would not be the case in this particular instance, but as a general statement, with a general application, Felix Arnold is right, and no man has made wider observation than he along these lines. You have now read eight chapters of this book. How much can you remember?






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