Evidentiary support

Interference is another factor of forgetting in LTM. Baddeley and Hitch (1977) provide evidence for this. They conducted a study in which they asked rugby players to recall the names of teams that they had played during the previous season. Some players did not play some of the games due to illness or other commitments, etc. This meant that some players thought two games back meant two weeks back for some people or it could mean three or four weeks back to other players.

This shows that some players had taken part in more games than others over the same period of time. This allowed Baddeley and Hitch to find out whether forgetting depended on elapsed time or the number of intervening games. The findings clearly showed that the mere passage of time was not the factor, which determined how well team names, could be recalled. Forgetting appeared to be due to interference rather than trace decay.

If interference is the main cause of forgetting then people should remember material over a long time period, provided no interference occurs. It is difficult to create a situation where no interference occurs after learning; therefore researchers have had to turn their attentions to look at the effects of different types of interfering material on recall. McGeoch and McDonald (1931) found that for participants learning a word list, forgetting was greatest when a subsequent interference task was similar to what had been learned originally.

There was little effect on recall from interference when the subsequent task involved unrelated material, but more where it involved antonyms of the original list. Most forgetting occurred when the interference task involved synonyms of the original list. There are two types of interference, Retroactive interference which occurs when new information interferes with old information i. e. when you move house and change your telephone number you will consequently forget the old telephone number.

Another type of interference occurs when an old memory trace disrupts new information i. e. you may start to dial the old telephone number even though you haven’t used it for a while. Although the Interference theory can be credited, a weakness of the interference theory is that it doesn’t totally apply to everyday life. Baddeley stated that Proactive interference in particular, has been very hard to establish outside the laboratory. There is also some disagreement as to whether interference should be thought of as a lack of availability or a lack of accessibility.

Cue dependant forgetting was a word used by Tulving (1974) and this refers to the two related terms, Context-dependant forgetting and State-dependant forgetting. Research conducted by Abernathy (1940) has shown that it is much easier to remember something if you are in the same context in which you originally learnt it i. e. if you learn a set of A-level facts in a particular room over a long period of time, you will remember those facts a lot easily if you are asked to recall them in that particular room, which will be at this time more familiar to you.

Zechmeister and Nyberg (1982) showed that it could help to recreate the conditions in which you learned the information. Evidence to support this theory comes form Godden and Baddeley (1975) who asked diver participants to learn a list of words either on land or underwater. It was found that the divers who learned the words underwater recalled more accurately when tested underwater. The divers who learned the words on land recalled the words more accurately when tested on land.

The explanation for why this occurs was suggested in the description as to how information about the environmental context is stored, whilst you are learning. By using this context later on, when you are remembering information, it makes recall much easier, by providing you with retrieval cues, which trigger memory for relevant information. This type of remembering is called cue recall. External state has been show to affect recall, but internal state also affects how well you remember something.

Goodwin et al (1969) found that memory loss was greater for those participants who acquired information while under the influence of alcohol. They were asked to recall the information when sober and vice versa. Emotional forgetting is also significant in forgetting. It can be in the form of repression, which also emphasises the role of emotion in forgetting. Freud suggested that we forget because there is great anxiety associated with certain memories and the psychological pain of recall would be to great to cope with.

When this is the case we use the unconscious mechanism of repression to push such memories out of consciousness. The memories continue to exist in the unconscious mind. Flashbulb memory is one type of memory, which is influenced by emotion. This causes people to have clear memories of events, which they found traumatic and remember in some detail the circumstances in which they became aware of these events. This suggests that high emotional distinctiveness of an event leads to a better ability to recall it.

In conclusion I think the explanation of forgetting in LTM, as a whole is extremely reliable as each theory is has evidentiary support. This can be clearly seen in the way the research conducted by experimenters, provides valuable insight into this area. However, there are some weaknesses in some areas of the explanations covered, which have been made aware by psychologists. This in turn has resulted in more accurate accounts, and statistics gained, which are essential in order to get a clearer view into this area of psychology.

According to the cue dependency theory information in our memory is available but not accessible. People need a suitable retrieval cue in order to trigger the memory. Cue dependancy is divided into two types, I’m studying context dependancy. This works …

With temporal duration the material held in the STM is relatively short-lived. Baddely and Hitch (1974) suggested that information may survive in the phonological loop for two seconds. Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) believed it may last a little longer, although …

People tend to forget things all the time, both past events and future events. Psychologists have tried to explain why this happen and they have come up with several different explanations. The reason why we forget can be due to …

Forgetting to do things is not uncommon. There are many different relevant explanations as to why a student would forget to do their Psychology work. This could have occurred at the encoding, storage or retrieval stage. There are two distinctions …

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