Explanations For Forgetting - Interference Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Explanations For Forgetting - Interference Deck (24):

According to interference when does forgetting occur?

Forgetting occurs when two pieces of information conflict with each other resulting in forgetting of one or both of the memories


When does this occur?

It occurs when a memory becomes disrupted not only by previous learning but also by what is learned in the future


Is interference a form of long-term memory forgetting or short term memory forgetting?

Long-term memory forgetting


What is long-term memory forgetting likely to be because of?

Once information has reached the long-term memory it is relatively permanent, so anything forgetting is likely to be because we can't get access to the information even though it is still available.


What does interference do to memories?

It makes it harder for us to locate them, hence why we forget


Why do psychologists recognise that there are two types of interference?

As it is very likely that two (or more) memories that are interfering with each other were stored at different times


What are the two types of interference?

Proactive and retroactive


What is proactive interference?

Proactive interference occurs when old existing memories affects attempts to recall something new i.e. interference goes forwards


Give an example of proactive interference?

The memory of an old telephone number disrupting attempts to recall a new phone number


What is retroactive interference?

Retroactive interference occurs when newly learned information (new memories) affects the recall of existing memories (old memories) I.e. interference goes backwards


Give an example of retroactive interference

The memory of your new car registration number preventing recall of a previous one


In both cases (proactive and retroactive) when is interference more likely to occur?

Interference is more likely to occur when the conflicting information is more similar to one another. For example, interference is likely to be greater when revising French and then Spanish than there would be when revising maths and then English


Give another example other similar memories/skills that may cause interference

Learning two musical instruments that are similar


Name the study that can be used to support interference

Peterson and Peterson's trigram experiment


Outline the procedure and findings of this experiment and why this study supports interference. And also which type of interference it provides evidence for

It was a lab experiment in which participants were presented with trigrams and then required to count backwards in threes to prevent rehearsal. They then had to recall the trigram after varying intervals of time. Only 10% of trigrams were recalled after 18 seconds. It supports interference as memory of early trigrams may disrupt recall of new ones because they are similar. This is evidence for proactive interference


Give an evaluative point about interference to do with evidence from laboratory experiments

Interference is probably one of the most consistently demonstrated findings in psychology and there is considerable evidence that supports both proactive and retroactive interference as explanations for why we forget in long-term memory.
This is a strength of interference theory because laboratory experiments have a high degree of control over extraneous variables which allows us to establish a cause and effect relationship.
This gives us the confidence that interference is a valid explanation for a least some forgetting


Is using artificial material is a strength or weakness of interference theory? Explain why

The stimulus materials used in studies of interference involve learning lists of words or trigrams. This is artificial as it is far from the things we learn and try to remember in real life.

This is a weakness of interference theory because the use of artificial tasks makes interference much more likely in the lab. Interference may not be as likely an explanation for forgetting in everyday life.

The counter argument to this criticism is that interference effects have been observed in every day situations and in real life experiments, thus supposing it's validity


How are real life studies a strength of the theory?

A strength of the interference theory is that it is supported by real-life research.

Four example, Baddeley and Hitch investigated interference of effects in an every day setting of rugby players. Rugby players were asked to recall the names of the teams they had played over the season. Those who have played fewer games (because they had missed several through injury) record more teams then those who had played all season.

This study supports retroactive interference as the more recent games are conflicting with the old games which then disrupts the recall of old games. Players who had played more recent games would forget more of the old team names because they have more new information which prevents recall.

This study shows that interference explanations can apply to least some every day situations.


Does interference theory have any real life practical applications?

There is evidence for interference existing in real-world settings. Four example, students may struggle to remember French vocabulary if they later start learning German. This implies that students should not revise similar subjects close to each other as they may disrupt each other.

There is considerable evidence on the effects of interference when people are exposed to competing brands in advertising within a short period of time.

Danaher et al found that both recall and recognition of an advertisers message were impaired when exposed to two advertisement for competing brands within a week.

To avoid adverts being diluted by similar information through interference they suggest running multiple exposures of the same advert over one day rather than over a week.

The fact that interference has provided many useful practical applications in terms of improving advertising and revision adds validity to the idea that real life forgetting might be the result of interference from similar material.


Give a weakness of interference theory to do with the fact that it only explains some situations of forgetting

An issue with into interference theory is that, while interference effects do occur in every day life, they don't occur that often. The problem is that it only really explains forgetting when two sets of information are similar, such as learning French and German at school. This doesn't happen very often.

Another issue is that even similar information does not always conflict. Interference theory would predict that learning several languages should be impossible due to the confusion it would cause and yet many people are multi-lingual.

It is for these reasons that interference is considered to be a relatively unimportant explanation of every day forgetting.


Is this an example of proactive or retroactive interference:

Accidentally calling at their previous address when visiting your parents



Is this an example of proactive or retroactively interference:

Starting an As level course and, after a few weeks, not being able to remember anything from GCSE



Is this an example of proactive or retroactive interference:

A teacher calling a new student by an old students name



Caleb saw a film about zombies a while ago, and went to see a different one recently. A friend, Ashton, asked him some questions about the first film but Caleb found he had trouble recalling the details accurately. A second friend, Anais, then joined in and wanted to know about the recent film Caleb had seen. But, again, Caleb seemed to forget parts of it.

Outline the interference theory of forgetting, refer to Caleb's experience in your answer

Forgetting occurs because memories stored at different times in long term memory disrupt each other. There are two types of interference; retroactive and proactive, Caleb is showing both.

Caleb's conversation with Ashton is an example of retroactive because the information about the new zombie film is disrupting the information about the old zombie film, preventing him from recalling facts about the first film he saw.

His conversation with Anais, however, is an example of proactive interference as the old information about the first zombie films he saw is conflicting with the information about the new one (as they are both similar) preventing him from recalling facts about the latest zombie film.

Recall is made worse by the fact that both movies are similar - they are both about zombies