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Forgetting can be a useful way in clearing out the un-wanted clutter from our memories. We do not need to remember things like what we wore last Thursday. Forgetting in Short-term Memory - Displacement

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Topic 2 - Forgetting Forgetting can be a useful way in clearing out the un-wanted clutter from our memories. We do not need to remember things like what we wore last Thursday. Forgetting in Short-term Memory Displacement We must remember that according to Miller, the capacity of S.T.M is limited to about seven items (+ or - two.) Material that is circulating in our S.T.M that has not been sufficiently processed by our L.T.M. can be pushed out or displaced by new incoming information. Waugh and Norman (1965) used a technique known as the serial probe technique to investigate this idea. This involved presenting individuals with a series of digits followed by the repetition of one of these digits known as the probe digit. They found that recall was good if the probe came towards the end of the series but was poor if it came towards the beginning of the series. This is consistent with the notion of displacement as the digits at the end of the list would still be available in S.T.M whereas the digits at the beginning of the list would seem to have been displaced by the following digits. This may not be the only explanation however. Shallice (1967) found that a faster rate of presentation of the digits had an effect on performance. The faster the rate of presentation, the better the recall was which suggests time may be an important factor in forgetting. ...read more.


In other words forgetting occurred more often where team members had other games interfere with previous fixtures rather than trace decay. If interference is the major cause of forgetting within L.T.M it should be true that people will remember material over a time period providing no interfering material intervenes. It is clearly difficult to set up a condition whereby no participant is immobilized after learning with any opportunity for the occurrence of any new learning. This has led researchers to look at the effect of different types of interfering material on recall. McGeoch and McDonald (1931) asked participants to learn and relearn lists of adjectives and then compared their performance on recall tests after interpolated tasks. Forgetting these adjectives was at its least when participants simply had to rest during the learning and recall and increased when participants were required to learn nonsense syllables in the interval. Rates were even higher when it was adjectives that were learned in the interval and were at there highest when the adjectives learned were similar in meaning to the original list. This shows that forgetting increases as a function of the similarity of the interfering material. Retroactive Interference Proactive Interference Retrieval Failure This is also known as the "tip-of-the-tongue" phenomenon and comes about when we think we know something but cannot recall it at that precise moment in time. This is due to the fact that the correct retrieval cues are not available. ...read more.


He believed that we use an unconscious process that ensures that threatening or anxiety-provoking memories are kept from our conscious awareness. These memories may stay repressed for years and never come to mind or can do in the form of hysterical neurosis. Although it has proved difficult to recreate repression in laboratory circumstances a number of attempts have been made. Levinger and Clark (1961) asked participants to generate associated words with words presented by them. Some of these words were emotionally neutral e.g. tree, window and others were emotionally arousing e.g. angry, quarrel. When asked to recall these associated words results showed that people tended to recall the emotionally neutral ones as opposed to the emotionally provoking ones, which helps to support the idea of repression. However such tests are considered suspect and Holmes (1990) concluded that there is no experimental support for the concept of repression. Recently research has focused upon repressed memories associated with child sexual abuse and whether or not recovered memories are genuine. The main problem with assessing whether or not they are true is that they have no independent, objective corroborative evidence. Williams (1992) found that 38 percent of a group of African-American women who were known to have suffered abuse reported repressed memories about it although it was clear that some of these memories were false. Loftus (1997) conducted an extensive review of studies that led him to believe that even psychologically healthy individuals altered their memory of events based on false suggestions about them. Baddelley concluded that it is important to exercise great caution in interpreting such reports. A Summary of Forgetting ...read more.

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