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"Discuss two theories of forgetting in LTM"

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Introduction

"Discuss two theories of forgetting in LTM" (18 Marks) Interference is when similar memories interfere and confuse each other. There are two types of Interference; Pro-active and Retro-active, Pro-active is when old memories interferes with or affects new memories, for example calling a new boyfriend by an old boyfriend's name. Retro-active is when new memories interferes or affects with old memories, for example you have to fill in a form and it asks you for your old phone number but you can only remember your new one. Interference does make cognitive sense because most people would agree that it is more difficult to recall similar material than dissimilar material, face validity. There are studies to show interference in the lab like the paired associate technique, were P's had to learn two lists, with the first word the same e.g. ...read more.

Middle

Interference is only one explanation for forgetting and is simplistic in LTM forgetting happens because of a complex interaction of factors not just one, for example Retrieval Failure. Retrieval Failure suggests that you can't remember information because you cannot find them or retrieve them when you need the information, this means that forgetting occurs because the information is stored in LTM but there are not enough Cues or Clues to help find or trigger the memory. If someone gave you a hint the memory might pop back into your head but without the cue you are left feeling blank. There are two types of cues; External clues and Internal clues, External clues suggest that the place or context where the material was learnt can affect recall. In a different place or situation information is difficult to retrieve but in the same place then the memory is triggered by the external clue. ...read more.

Conclusion

P's who had been alcoholics tended to hide money and alcohol when drunk but were unable to remember doing this until they were in the same state then the P's would find the hidden money and alcohol, this may be real life evidence but an unusual sample because they are alcoholics you can't generalise. There is a large amount of research to support this explanation for forgetting and retrieval failure makes cognitive sense because most people do agree that places, sounds, smells etc. do seem to trigger memories. The idea of cue dependant forgetting is used to help people recall information, for example the police often use reconstructions or take people back to the scene of the crime in order to trigger memories. It would be useless to have a memory that relies on being in exactly the same place etc to remember anything Overall, both studies do make cognitive sense and have lots of evidence to support them but also some criticisms that support other theories. ?? ?? ?? ?? Lisa Howarth ...read more.

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Response to the question

Response to Question: The student outlined two theories of forgetting (interference and retrieval failure) and has evaluated these theories with experimental evidence (e.g. Abernathy, Goodwin et al). Also, the student has evaluated the research provided (for example, evidence for interference ...

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Response to the question

Response to Question: The student outlined two theories of forgetting (interference and retrieval failure) and has evaluated these theories with experimental evidence (e.g. Abernathy, Goodwin et al). Also, the student has evaluated the research provided (for example, evidence for interference is criticised for being set in a laboratory where participants have to learn lots in a compressed amount of time). This is good as it shows the reader has not blindly accepted the theories, but has found supporting evidence and has then thought about the reliability and validity of this evidence, hence giving a fair argument. In criticism, their response could be made more explicit through the addition of an introduction and (a longer) conclusion. An intro is necessary to introduce the reader to the general topic area, rather than throwing them straight into a complex argument. This could include: a quick description of the theories of forgetting that will be evaluated and what kinds of research support/dispute these. Similarly, the conclusion should sum-up the main points (which theory has the best supportive evidence? Why is this best? Why is the other theory disputed? Are these conclusions subject to criticism? Or maybe the two theories contribute equally to forgetting?).

Level of analysis

Level of Analysis: A good amount of evidence is given – three different studies are described in detail and then these are criticised with further evaluative points. It is good to describe what was done in the study (e.g. ‘Some P’s were tested in the same room with the same instructor that they had learnt the information. Others were tested in a different place with a different instructor to where they had learnt the information’) rather than simply saying ‘….’s study supported this theory’. This allows the reader to assess the validity of the study for themselves, and hence makes your argument more convincing. However, the essay fails at the conclusion – it would make more sense to say that both theories may contribute partly towards forgetting and explain why, as this is what the evidence provided suggests (alternatively, if the evidence had mostly supported one theory over another then the conclusion should be in favour of that theory). In short, the conclusion must clearly follow the line of argument.

Quality of writing

Quality of Writing: The grammar and structure of sentences needs to be reconsidered. Many of the points are too long and would be much more easy to understand if they were split into two or three separate sentences. For example ‘P’s who had been alcoholics tended to hide money and alcohol when drunk but were unable to remember doing this until they were in the same state then the P’s would find the hidden money and alcohol, this may be real life evidence but an unusual sample because they are alcoholics you can’t generalise’ is much too long and convoluted. Also, there are a few mistakes in word-choice such as ‘Goodwin et al examined the affects of alcohol’. In this case, ‘affects’ is a verb whereas they should have used ‘effects’ – a noun. Additionally, there is some confusion in the use of technical terms (these are important to know as they demonstrate your knowledge of the subject in general). For instance, the word ‘clue’ if often used instead of ‘cue’.


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