PLoS ONE (Jan 2015)

Replication and Analysis of Ebbinghaus' Forgetting Curve.

  • Jaap M J Murre,
  • Joeri Dros

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 7
p. e0120644


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We present a successful replication of Ebbinghaus' classic forgetting curve from 1880 based on the method of savings. One subject spent 70 hours learning lists and relearning them after 20 min, 1 hour, 9 hours, 1 day, 2 days, or 31 days. The results are similar to Ebbinghaus' original data. We analyze the effects of serial position on forgetting and investigate what mathematical equations present a good fit to the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve and its replications. We conclude that the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve has indeed been replicated and that it is not completely smooth but most probably shows a jump upwards starting at the 24 hour data point.