Forgetting- Interference

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  • Created by: Em
  • Created on: 18-04-16 18:52
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  • Interference
    • Description
      • Interference theory states that forgetting can occur because memories interfere and disrupt one another
      • This idea suggests that information in LTM may become confused or combined with other information during encoding
      • Proactive interference- when we cannot learn new information because older information has already been learnt
      • Retroactive- when you forget previously learnt information due to learning new information
      • Interference is more likely when the memories are similar
        • e.g if you change your telephone number, the old number can interfere with the new number. This may result in you forgetting the new number
    • Evaluation
      • The majority of research that has been done on interference has been conducted in a lab
        • Lacks ecological validity and findings cannot be applied to everyday forgetting as the tasks are usually not common
      • Investigating interference is difficult to test in 'real life' as getting informed consent from participants would mean them knowing about the experiment so  demand characteristics
      • Chandler (1989) stated that students who study similar subjects at the same time often experience interference- supports the theory
      • Baddeley (1990) states that the tasks given to subjects are too close to each other and, in real life; these kinds of events are more spaced out.
      • McGeoch and McDonald (1931) found that the more similar the new information was to the old memory, the lower recall became.
        • This provides clear evidence for retroactive interference as similar information competes for meaningful memory space with the old memory


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