The rate at which we lose from memory information that we have just learned. As the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850–1909) showed in 1885, without reinforcement, our memory of newly learned information rapidly declines, but after that it gradually levels off (the forgetting curve). Repetitions, as in advertising, assist retention, but wearout becomes a factor: repetition with variation is one solution adopted. The forgetting rate is influenced by factors such as how meaningful the material is (see flashbulb memory). See also ad retention; message decay.
Subjects: Media Studies.