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Medical Memory Percentages.

  1. Sep 23, 2005 #1
    I am told by my teacher that we remember 10% of what we read, 30% of what we hear, 50% of what we see, and 90% of what we teach to others.

    Is this true, or another lie by the schools?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2005 #2


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    Sounds more like an adage or saying than a scientific truth. I will say that visual memory is probably better than a mere 50%, if we count recognition of previously presented visual pictures/displays as visual memory (i.e., upon being presented with an image, you can accurately say whether you have seen it before or not), and also that visual memory is better than verbal memory. Here's the abstract for Lionel Standing's journal article "Learning 10,000 Pictures" (published 1973 in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology):

    In his 1980 book Image and Mind, Stephen Kosslyn writes:

    So visual recall is probably better than 50%, and it's better than verbal memory (reading and hearing words).

    As for remembering what you teach-- I don't know of any studies on that offhand, but in general it makes sense (and is plausible from a more scientific perspective of brain function) that teaching material should promote memory of that material.
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2005
  4. Sep 23, 2005 #3


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    I think his teacher just wanted to tell him somethig. I mean s/he wanted to tell them how they can memorize things better.
  5. Sep 24, 2005 #4
    What is a "power law"?
  6. Sep 24, 2005 #5


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    Where you have a function of some variable, say t, and the probability of f(t) happening is given by [tex]ct^{-b}[/tex]. The value of b will vary. Power law distributions are found in letters in a text, names in a telephone book, and many other contexts.
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