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Describe and evaluate at least two theories of forgetting.

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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