3 On the role of cognitive science in the design of systems to augment cognition3 On the role of cognitive science in the design of systems to augment cognition5 On the role of cognitive science in the design of systems to augment cognition5 On the role of cognitive science in the design of systems to augment cognitionOn the role of cognitive science in the design of systems to augment cognitionPart II: Personal Memory Systems More BroadlyAugmenting Long-term Memory2020-09-24JournalI don't mention this to undermine your belief in the Ebbinghaus model. But rather as a caution: memory is complicated, we don't understand many of the big picture questions well, and we should be careful before we put too much faith in any given model. With all that said: the basic effects underlying distributed practice and the Ebbinghaus forgetting curve are real, large, and have been confirmed by many experiments. Effects like that discovered by Oehrn are less important by comparison. This places us in a curious situation: we have enough understanding of memory to conclude that a system like Anki should help a lot. But many of the choices needed in the design of such a system must be made in an ad hoc way, guided by intuition and unconfirmed hypotheses. The experiments in the scientific literature do not yet justify those design choices. The reason is that those experiments are mostly not intended to address those questions. They'll focus on specific types of information to memorize. Or they'll focus on relatively short periods of time – memorization over a day or a week, not for years. Such work helps us build a better theory of memory, but it's not necessarily answering the questions designers need to build systems.