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What is retrieval failure?

Lack of accessibility rather than availability of learned information.

The failure to find info because you have insufficient clues or cues.


What is the encoding specifically principle?

• Memory is most effective if information that was present at encoding is also available at the time of retrieval
• the cue doesn't have to be exactly right but the closer the cue is to the original item to more useful it will be


What was Tulving and Thomson's study regarding the encoding specificity principle and the importance of retrieval cues?

• participants asked to learn 48 words divided into 12 catagories e.g caragory = fruit
• words were presented why the categories e.g fruit-apple
• two conditions: participants either called out as many of the 48 words they could remember in free recall, or they were given a cue. the cue was the category of the word e.g given 'fruit' to recall 'apple'
• more worlds were recalled when given the category cue (60% recall vs 40%)


What did Tulving and Thomson's study show about memories and cues?

cues are important for accurate recall and that the material present at encoding (learning) is also present at retrieval, showing that memories have links to the context of when things were learned


What is context-dependent forgetting?

The idea that context matters during retrieval, and that familiar context acts as a cue for retrieval (contextual cue)

If retrieval is required somewhere unfamiliar and different to the context you learned information in, you are more likely to 'forget' the information and undergo retrieval failure


What was the study on context-dependent forgetting regarding scuba divers?

• 4 groups of scuba divers asked to learn a set of words and recall them
1: learned on land, recalled in water
2: learned on land, recalled on land
3: learned in water, recalled in water
4: learned in water, recalled on land
• the scuba divers who recalled the words in the same place they learned the words had more accurate recall (land on land or water in water)
• context matters


What is state-dependant forgetting?

• the idea that the state you were in when you learned something will impact how well it is recalled, e.g sober during learning = better recollection if also sober during recall
If not, you may forget


What was Goodwin et al's study on state-dependant forgetting?

• male volunteers. asked to learn a list of words, wait 24 hours, and come back and recall.
• 4 conditions:
1: sober at learning, sober at recall
2: sober at learning, drunk at recall
3: drunk at learning, sober at recall
4: drunk at learning, drunk at recall
• sober + sober and drunk + drunk had better recall
• better recall of info in the same state it was learned 'sober thoughts' and 'drunk thoughts'


Evaluation of the retrieving failure explanation of forgetting

(-) retrieval cues don't always work - more complex and meaningful info is less easily retrieved by a single cue, rather than just a simple 'word list' used in most of the research
(-) Nairne - opposes the idea that cues cause the retrieval, they are not the trigger they are simply just associated with the retrieval
(+) lots of research support
(+) good real world application (e.g exams, revise in the room you will take the exam in) - Smith says thinking of the same room helps