Explanations for Forgetting

  • Created by: Amber.x
  • Created on: 08-02-20 17:45

Explanations for forgetting


This occurs when two pieces of information conflict with eachother, resulting in forgetting of one or both or some distortion of the memory.

Interference is an explanation of forgetting in the LTM.

It happens because we can't access memories even though they're available.

Two Types -

Procative interference - occurs when an old memory interferes with a new one.

Retroactive interference - happens when a new memory interferes with an old one.


A strength of th interference explanation for forgetting is that there are lots of laboratory experiments to support it. For example, Keppel and Underwood (1962) research investigated the effects of proactive interference on recall from memory and found that earlier learning of trigrams interferred with later learning so there was inferior performance on the later trials. However, the problem with laboratory experiments is that it is an artificial task. This is a strength because lab experiments control the effects of irrelevant influences, this increases internal validity. However, it is a weakness because it lacks ecological validity.

Another strength is that there are other real-life studies that consider interference in everyday life. For example Baddely and Hitch (1977) wanted to find out if interference was a better explanation for forgetting than passage of time. This is a strength because it shows that interference explanations can apply to at least some everyday situations, therefore has ecological validity.

A weakness of interference research is that the possibility of interference is maximised. For example a student might learn and recall the material


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