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Evaluate two theories of forgetting.

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Evaluate two theories of forgetting To be able to understand why we forget, we must first consider the distinction between availability and accessibility: the first refers to whether or not material has been stored in the first place, while the second refers to being able to retrieve what has been stored. In terms of the multi store model, since information must be transferred from STM to LTM for permanent storage, availability has mainly to do with STM and the transfer of information from STM to LTM, and accessibility has mainly to do with LTM. This suggests that one way of looking at forgetting is to ask what prevents information from staying in STM long enough to be transferred to LTM( trace decay, interference, displacement), and another is to ask what prevents us from accessing the information that is in LTM. 1. Trace decay This explanation of forgetting in short term memory assumes that the memories leave a trace on the brain. ...read more.


This procedure was known as the serial probe technique. The numbers were presented at different speeds. If information fades away due to the passage of time, then numbers presented at a faster rate have less time to decay than numbers presented at a slower rate. If trace decay is occurring then memory should be better - more correct answers - when the information is presented fast. However, presentation rate appeared to make little difference. There was no significant relationship between the speed of presentation and the recall of correct numbers. These findings show extreme doubt of the trace decay theory of forgetting. 2. Interference This theory states that forgetting occurs because memories interfere with and disrupt each other. Old memories may disrupt new ones - this is called proactive interference, which means forward interference. New memories can also disrupt old ones, which is known as retroactive interference, meaning backwards interference. Interference becomes more likely when memories are similar. ...read more.


They gave the first word which came into their minds which probably effects what would happen in an everyday situation. They were then asked to learn a new set of words which were linked to the first one. They were then asked to recall all the words they'd learnt. This should result in retroactive interference because the words belonged to the same semantic field. New learning should disrupt older memories and participants should've forgotten the first word they chose. They didn't. There was no evidence of interference. This experiment suggests that when participants behave 'normally' and select their usual associations, interference may not occur. Baddeley (1990) points out that it has been very difficult to demonstrate significant proactive interference outside the laboratory; one reason being that when the learning of potentially interfering material is spaced out over time, interference is greatly reduced. However in the laboratory the experime` `nt is extremely compressed in time (artificially) and so it increases the probability of interference. Experimental studies of interference have very low ecological validity. Jo-Anne Cromack ...read more.

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