Book Definition: Forgetting caused by lapses in attention.

History (Optional)

Absent Mindedness can occur in one of the following forms:
  1. a low level of attention ("blanking" or “zoning out”).
  2. intense attention to a single object of focus (hyperfocus) that makes them oblivious to events around them.
  3. unwarranted distraction of attention from the object of focus by irrelevant thoughts or environmental events.

In Your Own Words

  • A retrieval failure caused by shifting your attention elsewhere.
  • Not paying attention to something, causing you to forget it later on.
  • You are trying to remember something, but you start to think about something different, causing you to forget your original thought.
  • An attention shift that results in forgotten information.
  • When something more emotionally important to you causes you to forget something that is not as emotionally important.
  • Your attention shifts and you forget something, like a birthday.
  • Lack of encoding
  • "Brain Fart"


  • When your friend tells you their birthday is coming up in two days, and you end up forgetting it due to distractions that took your mind off their birthday.
  • You forget what you just studied because you were watching T.V. and/or listening to music at the same time.
  • You are caught up with talking to someone that you love and you forget about a project or some homework.
  • When you get home, you're in such a hurry to catch your favorite TV show, South Park, that you throw your car keys somewhere carelessly. When it's time to go back out, you can't remember where you placed the keys because your attention wasn't focused on them at the time.
  • You forget where you put your cell phone because you were thinking about what you had to get at the grocery store.
  • Daydreaming in class will lead you to forget the information you are supposed to be learning.
  • You forget to tell your partner "Happy Anniversary" because you were too busy at work, even though you were excited about it earlier and told everyone at your job all about your plans to celebrate!
  • Magic Card Trick located in the AP Psychology book (Pages 258-259).
  • “Occasionally, (Einstein) would take rambling walks on his own, which could be dicey. One day someone called the Institute and asked to speak to a particular dean. When his secretary said that the dean wasn’t available, the caller hesitatingly asked for Einstein’s home address. That was not possible to give out, he was informed. The caller’s voice then dropped to a whisper. ‘Please don’t tell anybody,’ he said, ‘but I am Dr. Einstein, I’m on my way home, and I’ve forgotten where my house is.’" - Walter IsaacsonEinstein: His Life and Universe[Simon and Schuster, 2007], 439).
  • You were in such a hurry to catch the bus, you forgot to take the trash out to the corner.
  • Misplacing your wallet while looking at clothes at the mall.

  • Absent-Minded.jpg
    Mr. Cizek
  • When you're in such a hurry to get to school, that you forget your homework on the counter.
  • Your favorite song comes on, which makes you so happy and bubbly that you start daydreaming about running around in a field of flowers and by the time you get dizzy, the song is already over and you missed the whole thing.
  • You forgot to turn some paperwork in that your mom told you to remember to do because you were so excited for AP Psych with Mr. Cizek.
  • When you have to remember to give someone a movie and because you are not paying attention when you see them, you forget to give them the movie.
  • Watching a movie while playing a game with a friend. I don't quite remember everything from the movie because I was preoccupied.
  • I was thinking about how I was going to edit my AP Lit paper, so I didn't remember where I put my keys, and now I'm looking for them.
  • When you are in class, and you can't find your pencil, you do not realize the change-differnece in your paper that has a new bump and, realize its under your paper.
  • A kid was watching his new favorite show, his mother told him to take out the trash. After the show was over the kid could not remember what his mother told him to do.

Additional Resources

  1. How to overcome absent mindedness (youtube video)