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AS Psychology Essay – Memory – Forgetting

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Introduction

AS Psychology Essay - Memory - Forgetting Human memory, like memory in a computer, allows us to store information for later use. There are 2 main types of store for our memory. Short Term Memory (STM) and Long Term Memory (LTM). It is usually argued that information enters the STM as a result of applying attention to a stimulus, which has been momentarily held in a visual or auditory sensory register. However, McKay's findings do not fully support this, claiming that unattended information may also enter the STM. For LTM there are generally two schools of thought: Firstly, if information in the STM is rehearsed enough, then it is transferred to the LTM (as shown by Atkinson & Shiffrin, 1968). Secondly, if meaning is applied to the information in STM, this may also lead to the transfer of information. The capacity and duration of both differ substantially. The capacity for STM is very small, Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) proposed 7?2 items of information. Miller (1956) claims it is 7 "chunks" however another possibility is that STM doesn't have any storage capacity; it is the processing capacity that is limiting (Gross, 1990). The experiments on STM's duration show it to be up to 30 seconds. Peterson & Peterson (1959) found it to be 6-12 seconds, whilst Atkinson & Shiffrin (1968) ...read more.

Middle

Interference Theory According to this theory forgetting is influenced more by what we do before or after learning then by the mere passage of time. There are 2 types of interference, retroactive (RI) and proactive (PI). RI is when later learning interferes with the recall of earlier learning and PI is when earlier learning interferes with the recall of later learning. The strongest support for interference theory comes from laboratory studies, however these studies lack ecological validity because learning in such studies does not occur in the same way it does in the real world, the studies also tend to use nonsense syllables as the stimulus material. When meaningful material is used interference is more difficult to demonstrate (Solso, 1995) although in support of interference theory, it is generally agreed that if students have to study more than one subject in the same time frame they should be as dissimilar as possible. Retrieval-failure Theory According to this theory memories cannot be recalled because the correct retrieval cues are missing or cannot be used. This is demonstrated in the tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon, in which we know that we know something but cannot retrieve it at that particular moment in time. Brown & McNeill's (1966) 'tip-of-the-tongue' experiment gave participants dictionary definitions of unfamiliar words and asked them to provide the words themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are many different types of amnesia: Anterograde, Retrograde, Pure, Traumatic, Post-Traumatic, Infantile/Childhood and Hysterical Amnesia. The functional characteristics of amnesia are: 1) STM in amnesic patients is typically normal; the working memory can be quite intact. 2) Semantic memory may also be well preserved - impairment only becomes obvious when amnesic subjects try to add new material to semantic memory, e.g. updating knowledge of current affairs. 3) Non-declarative knowledge or implicit learning is typically preserved in amnesic patients, especially for skills, priming, classical conditioning and non-associative learning. 4) Procedural learning - although amnesic patients may not remember acquiring a new skill, their capacity to learn and perform new skills may be unimpaired by deficits in other areas of memory. 5) LTM - pure amnesic patients have difficulty in new episodic learning. So whilst cases of pyschogenic amnesia are consistent with Freud's theory, a strictly Freudian interpretation may not be necessary, and experimental support for the repression hypothesis is inconclusive. It seems that as much as we remember, we forget even more. Forgetting isn't really all that bad, and is in actuality, a pretty natural phenomenon. Imagine if you remembered every minute detail of every minute or every hour, of every day during your entire life, no matter how good, bad, or insignificant. Now imagine trying to sift through it all for the important stuff like where you left your keys. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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