Flashcards in AS MEMORY - THEORIES OF FORGETTING Deck (4)
Describe interference theory (IT)
Interference is when two pieces of information conflict with one another, and forgetting occurs. It affects the LTM. Interference can take two forms:
-Proactive interference: when an old memory interferes with a new one, causing forgetting.
-Retroactive interference: when a new memory interferes with an old one and causes forgetting.
Interference is more likely to occur when information is v similar.
Evaluate interference theory (IT)
(+) Evidence from McGeoch and McDonald (1931) gave ppts a list of words to remember until they could recall with 100% accuracy. Diff conditions were then given diff second lists of words to rememeber. Found that recall was worst when 2nd list were synonyms of 1st list compared to another condition who had antonyms of the first list; interference occurs most when info is similar
(-) Most research to support IT (like the McGeoch and McDonald study) use artificial materials e.g. word lists; low mundane realism so can't generalise findings to everyday life.
(+) BUT Baddeley and Hitch (1997) interviewed rugby players and asked them to recall which teams they'd played against that season, and found that recall didn't depend on how long ago the matches were, but how many matches had been played in between (which could interfere with the one they were trying to recall); shows that IT DOES apply in real life.
(-) Retrieval failure may better explain some types of forgetting (see Carter and Cassaday/ Goddon and Baddeley)
Describe retrieval failure (RF)
We may forget things due to insufficient cues; when info is encoded, the cues present are as well. RF works on the encoding specificity principle (ESP): if cues present at time of encoding are not present at time of retrieval then some forgetting will occur. Cues can come in two forms; internal (state-dependent forgetting) or external (context-dependent forgetting).