Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Relearning Process Not Always A 'Free Lunch'

Date:
August 21, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Researchers have helped determine why relearning a few pieces of information may or may not easily cause a recollection of other associated, previously learned information. The key, they find, is in the way in which the learned information is forgotten.

Researchers at Sheffield University and the University of St. Andrews, United Kingdom, have helped determine why relearning a few pieces of information may or may not easily cause a recollection of other associated, previously learned information. The key, they find, is in the way in which the learned information is forgotten.

When one learns a language and then doesn't use it, one may find that relearning a few words will trigger many others to come back and be relearned. The same happens with other skills that involve mental associations. The authors term this phenomenon "free-lunch learning." Previous work has shown that "free-lunch learning" occurs both in humans and in artificial neural networks.

In this study, co-authors Jim Stone and Peter Jupp created a mathematical model to show the opposite effect, called "negative free-lunch learning." These are cases in which relearning parts of forgotten associations decreases the recall of the remaining parts. The authors find that the difference between free-lunch learning and negative free-lunch learning is due to the particular method used to induce forgetting.

If forgetting is induced by random fluctuations in the strength of synaptic connections, then free-lunch learning will be observed. However, the authors show here that if forgetting is induced by directional decay in synaptic connectivity, then negative free-lunch learning occurs.

This suggests that evolution may have selected physiological mechanisms that involve forgetting using a form of synaptic drift, as in humans we typically observe free-lunch learning.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stone et al. Falling towards Forgetfulness: Synaptic Decay Prevents Spontaneous Recovery of Memory. PLoS Computational Biology, 2008; 4 (8): e1000143 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000143

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Relearning Process Not Always A 'Free Lunch'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080821211553.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, August 21). Relearning Process Not Always A 'Free Lunch'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080821211553.htm
Public Library of Science. "Relearning Process Not Always A 'Free Lunch'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080821211553.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins