• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe and evaluate at least two theories of forgetting.

Extracts from this document...


Sarah Andrews. Describe and evaluate at least two theories of forgetting . [18 marks] In this essay I have chosen to look at Freud's motivated theory of forgetting and cue - dependent forgetting. I have chosen these because they both report convincing arguments to try to explain why we forget. Freud's motivated theory of forgetting states that the ego represses unpleasant memories into our subconscious in order to avoid anxiety in the event of recall. Freud says that techniques such as dream analysis are the only way to access the repressed memories. Herman and Schaton[1987] carried out a study which supports Freud's theory. They found that when questioned, 28% of females affected by incest showed a memory deficit as a child. This is a sign of repression during childhood, to block out any unpleasant memories. ...read more.


A further study by Godden and Baddley [1975] tested deep sea divers on their recall both on land and underwater. They observed that the divers recall was best in the environment the information was learnt. For example words learnt underwater were recalled best underwater. This study supports both cue - dependant and context dependent theory. Freud's theory of motivated forgetting intuitively seems to be reasonable. Repressed memories [if in existance] could have an effect on our behaviour. However, one main weakness of his theory is the inexplanation of why we forget pleasant memories. The study by Herman and Schaton [1987] showed a 28% result. This is by no means definitve. It could have been the case that some subjects in their experiment did not talk about their negative memories because of embarrassment or to protect their privacy. ...read more.


If the memory is not accessible, how can it be proven that the memory has been encoded. However, the supporting studies do have definitive results. They clearly show subjects' recall is far more enhanced by the use of close cues [ the encoding specify principle]. This theory can be used effectively by anyone wishing to remember information. Effective use of cue cards enhances memorability and encourages semantic encoding. Freud's theory of motivated forgetting and cue - dependent theory of forgetting are both intuitively believable concepts. However cue - dependent theory does seem to have more evidence to support it. It is also a lot more scientific than Freud's theory and has more definitive results. In conclusion both cue - dependent theory of forgetting and Freud's theory have many strong points about why we forget. However cue - dependent theory of forgetting seems to have the stronger evidence and scientific evidence to back up it's theory. 588 words - 1hr 15 mins. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Cognitive Psychology essays

  1. This study is based on the theory of cue dependent forgetting - more specifically, ...

    The null hypothesis is therefore that there is no difference in the number of words recalled whether recall is in the same room as learning or not. Method Method and design The hypotheses was tested with an experimental method. This is appropriate as numerical data can be obtained for unbiased analysis.

  2. Cue dependent Forgetting. This experiment investigates Tulvings theory of cue dependent forgetting, with ...

    floor was equal when students were instructed to recollect the encoding environment. Method and design Participants Opportunity sampling was used as the experiment took place at the college, where opportunity sampling is the quickest and convenient way to get participants, because there is easy access to students.

  1. Psychology Retrospective Interference coursework

    Prepare a sheet of paper and a writing utensil. Ask the participants in all conditions to write down the 10 adjectives from Word List 1 which they have learned it perfectly before. Say, "Now, please write down the 10 adjectives from the first list of adjectives that you were given to remember perfectly and were tested on it." 5.

  2. Psychology Report

    In this case the distracter task was for the participants to recite the alphabet backwards. Dependent variable (DV) : the percentage of accurately recalled words from the last seven words of the list, showing the recency effect. The conditions used in the investigation: Condition A: Without distracter task, Participants had

  1. Cue-dependent forgetting theory by Tulving

    following day, against 20% of material forgotten if no earlier lists had been learned. Underwood concluded that it was the new nonsense words that got confused with the words from the old lists. Underwood's study refutes Tulving's cue dependant forgetting theory and states that it is the interference of the new words, which makes the participants forget the old words.

  2. Retrieval Induced Forgetting in Coherent Narrative Text.

    the first letter of an export or native language.) There was a filler task in which participants had to count backwards by 3 from Diane Poulos 5 2,000 for 5 minutes before allowed to recall as much information about the islands as possible.

  1. Memory and forgetting

    These memories continue to exist but in the unconscious mind. For example memories of being abused as a child may bee to disturbing for a person to cope with and may be outside conscious recall. It has been proved difficult to demonstrate the existence of repression in the laboratory, although a number of attempts have been made.

  2. Evaluate two theories of forgetting.

    STM has a limited duration. The Brown-Peterson effect states that information is lost after 20 seconds without rehearsal. Peterson and Peterson explained this rapid loss in terms of decay. The memory trace fades over time until it completely disappears. At which point information is completely forgotten.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work