Forgetting

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  • Forgetting
    • Lack of consolidation
      • Time is necessary for learning to become fixed/firmly recorded
      • Time-dependant changes occur in the nervous system as a result of learning
      • During consolidation, STM is repeatedly activated
      • If something interrupts the process, EG: a bang to the head, then STM cannot be consolidated
        • and memories cannot be stored for long-term access
      • Evaluation
        • Patients who have been concussed often suffer retrograde amnesia
          • because the consolidation process has been interrupted
          • which is memory loss for the events prior to the concussion
        • Electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) causes memory loss of events to occur before the therapy has been given
          • Evidence which shows that the one-hour delay between learning and ECT, perfect retention occurs
            • Suggests that the essential consolidation period required, to ensure info reaches long-term store, is up to one hour
        • There is evidence from both animals and humans to support the theory that the consolidation process in necessary to prevent memory disruption and loss.
    • Retrieval failure theory
      • According to this theory, memories cannot be recalled because the correct retrieval cues are not being used
      • The role of the retrieval cues is demonstrated by the 'tip of the tongue' phenomenon
        • we know that we know something but cannot retrieve it from LTM at that particular moment
      • 2 types of cue-dependent forgetting:
        • context-dependent forgetting
          • occurs if the relevant environmental variables that were present when learning took place are missing at recall; external cues
        • state-dependent forgetting
          • occurs in the absence of relevant psychological variables that were present during learning; internal cues
      • Evaluation
        • able to explain findings that cannot be explained by trace decay theory
        • A lot of empirical evidence to support cue-dependent forgetting.
        • Studies use extreme conditions which would not occur in real life
          • Lack ecological validity
        • in less dramatic changes in environment only slight differences in recall are produced
    • Motivated forgetting theory
      • Access to repressed memories can occur through the use of Freudian techniques
        • Free association, parapraxes, or repressed events break through in the form of dreams
      • Retrieval is not available through conscious efforts to try to remember
        • If we try to remember something, the more likely it will be repressed
        • repressed because memory causes pain and can cause anxiety
      • Freud
        • some experiences are so painful that if they were allowed to enter consciousness they would produce overwhelming anxiety
        • These experiences are repressed, stored in the unconscious  and become inaccessible
      • What is repressed varies from individual to individual, but when event is recalled it is accompanied by an unpleasant emotional reaction
        • The memory is retrieved only when the emotional tension associated with it is released (AKA catharsis)and this usually occurs during therapy
      • Evaluation
        • In order to investigate motivated forgetting in a lab, participants would need to have experienced something traumatic; this is unethical
        • support for motivated forgetting is also evident in tests of emotional inhibition
          • EG: Levinger and Clark
        • More recent studies have found that it may not be repression but arousal that influences the recall of emotionally charged words
  • Motivated forgetting theory
    • Access to repressed memories can occur through the use of Freudian techniques
      • Free association, parapraxes, or repressed events break through in the form of dreams
    • Retrieval is not available through conscious efforts to try to remember
      • If we try to remember something, the more likely it will be repressed
      • repressed because memory causes pain and can cause anxiety
    • Freud
      • some experiences are so painful that if they were allowed to enter consciousness they would produce overwhelming anxiety
      • These experiences are repressed, stored in the unconscious  and become inaccessible
    • What is repressed varies from individual to individual, but when event is recalled it is accompanied by an unpleasant emotional reaction
      • The memory is retrieved only when the emotional tension associated with it is released (AKA catharsis)and this usually occurs during therapy
    • Evaluation
      • In order to investigate motivated forgetting in a lab, participants would need to have experienced something traumatic; this is unethical
      • support for motivated forgetting is also evident in tests of emotional inhibition
        • EG: Levinger and Clark
      • More recent studies have found that it may not be repression but arousal that influences the recall of emotionally charged words

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