Varieties of graded forgetting

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Forgetting is typically viewed as counterproductive in everyday life. However, it may mainly be harmful when it is complete, that is, all-encompassing and permanent, and not when it is graded, that is, partial and fluctuating. I propose that forgetting is in fact mostly graded, and that this is an essential reason that it is often helpful. I delineate three ways in which forgetting may be graded. First, it may occur with respect to one, but not another, part of a memory. Second, it may occur in one context, but not in another. Third, forgetting may be present at one point in time, but not at another. Also, I propose that different levels of forgetting are possible, based on whether an engram or a context is unavailable, silent, restricted, latent, or potent. Overall, I hypothesize that forgetting is often helpful because it can be flexible and tailored to the circumstances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102983
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume84
ISSN1053-8100
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

    Research areas

  • Beneficial, Forgetting, Graded, Memory, Partial

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