If this pathway goes unused for some amount of time, the memory decays, which leads to difficulty recalling, or the inability to recall, the memory. Various theorists, including Ebbinghaus (1885/ 1913) have argued that forgetting occurs because there is spontaneous decay of memory traces over time. A physical memory trace is a result of learning, as proposed in the consolidation theory and contains stored information in long term memory. But disuse of a trace will lead to memory decay, which will ultimately cause retrieval failure. Consistent with the interference view, performance decreased over trials. Information in short-term memory lasts several seconds and if it is not rehearsed, the neurochemical memory trace quickly fades. Decay is what supposedly occur when the passage of time causes us to forget. The memory trace (or engram) fades and the memory is no longer available. The trace decay theory of forgetting states that all memories fade automatically as a function of time. The theory suggests that learning causes a physical change in the neural network of the memory system, creating a memory trace or "engram" Once this memory trace has been created, it must be reinforced through repetition to strengthen it. The Decay Theory of Forgetting . Trace Decay. The hypothesis of decay of the memory trace as a cause of forgetting has been unpopular. The Decay Theory of Forgetting One important question concerns forgetting. Decay theory is an important theory in psychology. According to the trace theory of memory, physical and chemical changes in the brain results in a memory "trace." Under this theory, you need to follow a certain pathway, or trace, to recall a memory. The reasons for this unpopularity are criticized and a theory of the memory span, based on this hypothesis, is put forward. Trace decay theory states that forgetting occurs as a result of the automatic decay or fading of the memory trace. Peterson and Peterson (1959) aim- to investigate if info is lost from STM through decay over time Method- - participants were presented with trigrams eg OHE - asked to recall them in order after a delay of 3, 6, 9,12, 15 and 18 seconds - participants given interference task to b) According to the trace decay theory, learning something creates an engram in our brain which gradually fades over time. Three experiments which test the hypothesis are described. The trace decay theory of forgetting states that all memories fade automatically as a function of time. If the trace is not reinforced by practice it will simply weaken and decay, causing forgetting to occur Not all forgetting may be caused by decay, it could be more of an accessibility issue than an availability as we have many interfering events to do with learning and recall. This theory suggests short term memory can only hold information for between 15 and 30 seconds unless it is rehearsed. They concluded that interference, rather than trace decay, was responsible for forgetting over the short-term. Baddeley and Scott (1971) , however, suggested that the Keppel and Underwood (1962) data suffered from ceiling effects which might have masked forgetting. Under this theory, you need to follow a certain pathway, or trace, to recall a memory. This theory would suggest that if we do not attempt to recall an event, the greater the Trace decay theory focuses on time and the limited duration of short term memory. If this trace is not activated over time it may begin to decay which results in an individual forgetting stored information as it is no longer accessible. There are two main theories to explain forgetting in STM. One theory of forgetting is decay theory. Decay theory suggest that we forget something because the memory of it fades with time. The first is the trace decay theory. Decay theory Decay is the simplest explanation of forgetting. 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