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Outline And Evaluate Two Different Types Of Forgetting

Psychology article

Date : 17/11/2017

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Uploaded by : Catalina
Uploaded on : 17/11/2017
Subject : Psychology

The interference theory has been proposed mainly as an explanation for forgetting that happens in the long term memory (LTM), when information reaches our LTM it becomes permanent. Which is why interference has been proposed as an explanation, because if the information in our LTM is more or less permanent, forgetting might occur because we can t get access to that information even though it is available. Interference occurs when two pieces of information conflict with one another, this interference between memories means it makes it harder for us to locate them and this is experienced as forgetting.

There are two types of this interference, proactive interference (PI) and retroactive interference (RI). PI occurs when an older memory interferes with a new one. RI is the opposite, this happens when a new memory interferences with a old one.

In both cases of PI and RI, interference is worse when memories or how we remembered them are similar, this is the outcomes of the study by McGeotch and McDonald s experiment on the effects of similarity. For the procedure of the experiment, participants were asked to larn a list of words to 100% accuracy to be able to recall the perfectly, they were then after asked to remember a second list to remember. There were six groups of participants that had to remember different types of the second list. One group had synonyms, another antonyms, another with words unrelated to the first list they had to remember, one with nonsense syllables, another with three digit numbers and a last group which had no second list and only had to remember the first list given to everyone (the control group).

Their findings were that when participants were asked to recall the first list, their performance upon remembering depended on the nature of the second list. The group with synonyms had the worst recall, showing that interference is strongest when memories are similar.

Real life experiments have supported this theory, Baddley and Hitch s study on rugby players remembering names of past teams they have played against, the outcomes of their study showed that this explanation can be applied to some real life everyday situations.

Also, the fact that this was a lab experiment increases validity to interference as in lab experiments they can control the effects of distracting variables.

However,they used artificial materials, meaning interference might be more likely in the lab than in real life sp it cannot be generalised to everyday life. Another reason why the study cannot be generalised to real life is because in real life we would have longer to remember things.

Cues have been found to overcome interference by Tulving and Potska,which is a limitation to the theory as this could mean the role of interference might have been exaggerated.

Retrieval failure is also another type of forgetting. Information is initially placed in our memory, whilst this memory is stored there are associated cues that are stored at the same time. But if these cues aren t available at a time of recall, the memory might not be available for access even though it is actually there, therefore theses lack of cues lead to retrieval failure.

tulving , a psychologist, said that cues only help retrieval when the same cues were there when learning the information, this means that the more similar the retrieval cue to the initial cue the easier it is to remember. Tulving summarised this pattern and called it the encoding specific principle (ESP).

Some cues also have meaning linked to the memory, for example mnemonics act as a cue to help you remember lots of information. However some cues also have no meaningful links whatsoever, there are two types of these cues context dependant forgetting which is when memory depends on the weather in a place whilst learning for example if learning information on a sunny day it might help to remember that information in the future when it is sunny, state dependant forgetting which is when memory depends on the emotional state of the person whilst learning the information for example being drunk might help a person remember things from the last time they were drunk.

A study on context dependant forgetting was conducted by Duncan and Godden, this study was on deep sea divers working underwater. In the study the divers learned a list of words either underwater or on dry land and were then asked to recall this information underwater or on dryland. They had found that in the non matching conditions recall was 40% lower than recall in matching conditions, this had led to retrieval failure.

A study on state dependant forgetting was also conducted, by Sara and Helen. In this study they gave the participants drugs for hay fever which would put them in a certain drowsy state then asked to learn a list of words, they were then either asked to recall the list on the drug or not on the drug. They had found that performance in a emotional state that was not matching had significantly lower recall than when it was matching, showing that when cues are absent forgetting is worse.

This theory of context dependant forgetting has a lot of everyday applications, for example forgetting what you went downstairs for but then remembering when you are back upstairs, meaning it has good external validity.

There are also lots of research out there supporting this explanation of forgetting, Eysneck has said that this might be what causes retrieval failure in the long term memory, this increases the theories validity.

however , ESP cannot be tested. We just assume that if a cue helps to remember something it must have been there at the time of learning, and if it doesn t it must not have been. But this cannot be proven in everyday life.

Baddley has also argued that contexts have to be very different before an effect is seen, for example land and water. This could mean that contextual cues don t actually explain that much about forgetting.

This resource was uploaded by: Catalina