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Hermann Ebbinghaus Quotes

A poem is learned by heart and then not again repeated. We will suppose that after a half year it has been forgotten: no effort of recollection is able to call it back again into consciousness.

Ideas which have been developed simultaneously or in immediate succession in the same mind mutually reproduce each other, and do this with greater ease in the direction of the original succession and with a certainty proportional to the frequency with which they were together.

Meanwhile the fact that the connection with the activity of memory in ordinary life is for the moment lost is of less importance than the reverse, namely, that this connection with the complications and fluctuations of life is necessarily still a too close one.

Mental events, it is said, are not passive happenings but the acts of a subject.

Mental states of every kind, - sensations, feelings, ideas, - which were at one time present in consciousness and then have disappeared from it, have not with their disappearance absolutely ceased to exist.

No matter how thoroughly a person may have learned the Greek alphabet, he will never be in a condition to repeat it backwards without further training.

Often, even after years, mental states once present in consciousness return to it with apparent spontaneity and without any act of the will; that is, they are reproduced involuntarily.

On the basis of the familiar experience that that which is learned with difficulty is better retained, it would have been safe to prophesy such an effect from the greater number of repetitions.

One needs but to say that, in the case of an unfamiliar sequence of syllables, only about seven can be grasped in one act, but that with frequent repetition and gradually increasing familiarity with the series this capacity of consciousness may be increased.

Out of the simple consonants of the alphabet and our eleven vowels and diphthongs all possible syllables of a certain sort were constructed, a vowel sound being placed between two consonants.

Sensorial perception, for example, certainly occurs with greater or less accuracy according to the degree of interest; it is constantly given other directions by the change of external stimuli and by ideas.

Series of syllables which have been learned by heart, forgotten, and learned anew must be similar as to their inner conditions at the times when they can be recited.

The aim of the tests carried on with these syllable series was, by means of repeated audible perusal of the separate series, to so impress them that immediately afterward they could voluntarily be reproduced.

The amount of detailed information which an individual has at his command and his theoretical elaborations of the same are mutually dependent; they grow in and through each other.

The constant flux and caprice of mental events do not admit of the establishment of stable experimental conditions.

The musician writes for the orchestra what his inner voice sings to him; the painter rarely relies without disadvantage solely upon the images which his inner eye presents to him; nature gives him his forms, study governs his combinations of them.

The relation of repetitions for learning and for repeating English stanzas needs no amplification. These were learned by heart on the first day with less than half of the repetitions necessary for the shortest of the syllable series.

The school-boy doesn't force himself to learn his vocabularies and rules altogether at night, but knows that be must impress them again in the morning.

These syllables, about 2,300 in number, were mixed together and then drawn out by chance and used to construct series of different lengths, several of which each time formed the material for a test.