Essay 3: Outline and Evaluate the Theories of Forgetting

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  • Created on: 12-03-14 15:04
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  • Essay 3: Outline and Evaluate the Theories of Forgetting
    • Short-term memory can be forgotten by either decay or displacement
      • Decay
        • This is based on the assumption that duration of STM is limited. The neural trace gradually fades over time
          • Reitman (1974)
            • Found that recall declined by 24% compared to pp's recalling immediately.
              • Reitman supports Peterson and Peterson's findings. In their task the words must have decayed as interference task isn't verbal task. As Reitman supports Peterson and Peterson that means that it's reliable and vaild
          • Peterson and Peterson (1959) Trigram study
            • Found that when pp's were given an interference task to prevent then rehearsing info (strengthening memory trace) forgetting of trigrams was rapid.(90% at 3secs , 2% at 18secs)
              • This supports decay theory: without repetition the memory trace was lost
        • Decay versus Displacement
          • Displacement
            • Based on the assumption that capacity of STM is limited. If STM is full then info needs to be lost in order to allow new info in.
              • Waugh and Norman (1965)
                • Recall was good (over 80%) If the probe came towards the end of the 16 digit list but poor (less than 20%) If the probe came towards the start of the list
                  • Digits at the end of the list are still available to STM whereas digits at the start of the list have been displaced by those that came later
          • Waugh and Norman
            • If the numbers were presented quick (4 per sec) recall was better then if the number were presented slow (1 per sec)
              • The explanation of this is that the fast presentation means that the numbers had less time to decay. If displacement was the only explanation then there should be no difference in the 2 circumstances
          • Shallice (1967)
            • Found that forgetting was reduced if the numbers were presented faster, but found a stronger effect for moving the position of the probe.
              • This suggests that displacement and decay explain forgetting in STM but that displacement is more important
      • Displacement
        • Based on the assumption that capacity of STM is limited. If STM is full then info needs to be lost in order to allow new info in.
          • Waugh and Norman (1965)
            • Recall was good (over 80%) If the probe came towards the end of the 16 digit list but poor (less than 20%) If the probe came towards the start of the list
              • Digits at the end of the list are still available to STM whereas digits at the start of the list have been displaced by those that came later
    • Long-Term memory can be forgotten by either interference or retrieval Failure
      • Retrieval Failure
        • Context: The Context (our surroundings) can provide clues to help us retrieve info
          • Smith(1970)
            • Gave PP's a list of 80 words to learn whilst in a distinctive basement room.
              • Next day recall: Some tested in the same room, others in completely different atmosphere and 3rd group in different room but told to imagine themselves in the basement
                • Average recall: Basement=18 words, different atmosphere=12 words and 3rd=17 words
            • Context dependent learning
              • Smiths Study shows that, reliving the environment where you learnt the words, acts as a cue to retrieve info
                • Practical applications from this study
                  • 1) Revision- Mentally placing self in the class room.
                  • 2) Cognitive interview
                    • Interview Technique used by Police to increase accuracy of EWT
                    • One stage of CI is mental reinstatement of context. witnesses are encouraged to recall all aspects of the crime scene with the aim of mentally putting themselves back within the scene- This acts as a cue
        • State: Our internal state can give us clues to help us remember info
          • Ucros (1989)
            • Found a moderately strong relationship between mood at the time learning and retrieval stage. She found that Mood Dependence was more likely if stimulus material was about real-life
          • Godwin et al (1969)
            • found heavy drinkers who learnt things whilst in a drunken state are more likely to remember them in a similar state
        • Interference Versus Cue Dependent Forgetting
          • Interference
            • Retroactive Interference: New information interferes with Old Information
              • Underwood
                • 2nd study: Word pairs designed to interfere
            • Proactive interference: Old info interferes with New info
              • Underwood
                • 1st Study: Students who do a lot of studies forgot the new list over a 24 hour period, therefore these results demonstrate proactive interferecne
          • Tulving and Potska- asked PP's to learn lists of words which had been placed into categories
            • P's were then asked to free recall the words in the lists
            • T+P found that this did occur, retroactive interference caused forgetting
            • This finding shows that even when interference occurs those memories are still there and can still be retrieved with the right cues.
            • However, when p's were given cued recall, the effects of interference disappeared. p's remembered an average 70% of words regardless of how many lists they had been given
            • Some p's learned more lists than others; interference theory predicts that those who learned more lists would recall less words as info from later lists would interfere with words from earlier lists
      • Interference
        • Retroactive Interference: New information interferes with Old Information
          • Underwood
            • 2nd study: Word pairs designed to interfere
        • Proactive interference: Old info interferes with New info
          • Underwood
            • 1st Study: Students who do a lot of studies forgot the new list over a 24 hour period, therefore these results demonstrate proactive interferecne

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