EXPLANATIONS FOR FORGETTING: INTERFERENCE

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  • Explanations for forgetting: Interference.
    • Interference is forgetting because one memory blocks another causing one or both memories to be lost.
      • Mainly an explanation for forgetting in LTM.
    • Types of Interference
      • Proactive Interference
        • Occurs when older memories disrupt the recall of other newer memories.
          • The degree of forgetting is greater when the memories are similar.
            • Occurs when newer memories disrupt the recall of older memories.
      • Retroactive Interference
        • Occurs when newer memories disrupt the recall of older memories.
    • Effects of similarity
      • McGeoch and McDonald studied retroactive interference by changing the amount of similarity between two sets of words.
        • Participants had to learn a list of words until they could recall them with 100% accuracy.  They then had to learn a new set of words.There were six groups of participants.
          • G1 - Synonyms
          • G2 - Antonyms
          • G3 - Words unrelated to original ones
            • When the participants recalled the original set of words, their recall depended on the nature of the second set of words. G1 produced the worst recall (synonyms) showing that interference is strongest when the material is similar.
              • G1 - Synonyms
              • G2 - Antonyms
              • G4  -Nonsense syllables.
              • G5 - Three-digit numbers
              • G6 - No new list - they rested.
          • G4  -Nonsense syllables.
          • G5 - Three-digit numbers
          • G6 - No new list - they rested.
    • Evaluation
      • Evidence from lab studies
        • There have been many lab experiments carried out that prove the interference theory.
          • This is a strength because we can control variables in lab experiments so they give us valid results that explain the theory.
      • Artificial material
        • There is a greater chance that interference will happen in the lab because the stimulus' used are artificial
          • This is a limitation of the theory because interference is more likely to happen in the lab than in real life so we cannot generalise the findings to real life.
      • Real-life studies
        • Baddeley and Hitch (1977)
          • They asked rugby players to remember the names of teams they had played so far in the season.
            • Because players had missed games but still recalled the last team they themselves played, it showed that accurate recall does not depend on how long ago the info took place.
              • Showing that interference theory can apply to at least some everyday situations.

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