Herman Ebbinghaus
During the late 1800\'s a new science was emerging in Europe. Psychology\'s roots
can be traced back to Germany and a man by the name of William Wunt. Following

Wunt other psychologists began emerging in different fields. Of these pioneers

Herman Ebbinghaus was one, and his field of study was memory. He performed the
first experiments in 1885 in Germany and the following is a background on the
man and his field. Herman Ebbinghaus was born in 1850 in Germany and died there
in 1909. He received his formal education at the Universities of Bonn, Halle,
and Berlin (Gale, 1996). Ebbinghaus received degrees in philosophy and history
from these universities (Gale, 1996). Ebbinghaus went on to teach at the

Universities of Berlin, Poland, Breslaw and Halle (Gale, 1996). These
experiences combined with later experiences with memory combine to give

Ebbinghaus a curiosity about memory greater than most of his time. Memory can be
defined as your amount of learning or your stored information. The process of
storing and retreving information from the brain that is central to learning and
thinking (Microsoft Encarta, [MSE], 1997). According to Myers (1998) memory is
"any indication that learning has persisted over time". There are also
four types of memory classified: recollection, recall, recognition, and
relearning. Recollection is the reconstruction of facts based on clues that
serve as reminders; recall is the active remembering of something from the past
without help; recognition is the ability to identify previous stimuli as
familiar; relearning is material that seems to be easier to remember than others
as if it has been learned before (MSE, 1997). These four types of memory
together help all people to remember anything from the states\' capitals to your
best friends birthday party from second grade. Some researchers say that there
are specific sites dedicated to memory while others say that all the brain works
together (MSE, 1997). There are tests to determine memory in individuals that

Ebbinghaus Ebbinghaus 3 himself developed and will be discussed later. One test
that does involve memory in a way would be the IQ test developed to test
childrens level of intelligence which in turn depends on how much the child
remembers. Ebbinghaus served in the Franco-Prussian War then seven years after
that, decided to tutor in England, France and Berlin (Gale, 1996). It was during
this time that Ebbinghaus became interested in memory and began to wonder how
memory worked (Gale, 1996). In the journal of Physiological Psychology William

Wunt said that a test on memory could not be performed (Gale, 1996). After
reading this Ebbinghaus decided that he would try and test memory himself. Armed
with his curiosity and his knowledge of memory from tutoring Ebbinghaus began
the tests. He used the same mathematical treatment that Gustav Fechner used in

Elements of Psychophysics to try and test memory experimentally (Gale, 1996).

Ebbinghaus decided to be the subject and the experimenter in this test so he
made a list of nonsense syllables that he would memorize (Myers, 1998). He
crated 2,300 one syllable consonant-vowel-consonant combinations to make his
study easier (Gale, 1996). He made words such as taz, bok, lef so that he could
test the memorization rather than his previous knowledge of the words. He
divided the material into lists that he memorized in different conditions (Gale,

1996). He measured them at night, in the day, when he was tired, just gotten up,
etc. He recorded the average time it took him to memorize the lists perfectly
then altared the test (Gale 1996). According to Gale (1996) he made observations
about ther effects of such variables as speed, list length, and number of
repetitions. Ebbinghaus also wanted to test long term and short term memory
retention. He compared the time it took him to memorize any list once with the
ammount of time it took him to memorize the same list again (Gale, 1996). He
also measured immediate Ebbinghaus 4 memory showing that he remembered about six
to eight items off his list after one look (Gale, 1996). Ebbinghaus in testing
memory wanted to know how much he still knew from his lists later. According to

Myers (1998) he would test himself on the same material thirty minutes to thirty
days after his initial test. Using the mathematical methods mentioned earlier he
came up with a retention curve showing how much of the information he was able
to retrieve the next day. This figure can be seen on the attatched sheet, Figure

9.3. Ebbinghaus discovered that the longer he repeated the list on the first day
the more he