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Memory : The capacity to retain information over time. PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Memory : The capacity to retain information over time. Encoding : the conversion of incoming information into a form that can be stored in memory. Storage : maintaining information in memory over a period of time.

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Memory : The capacity to retain information over time.

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Memory: The capacity to retain information over time.

  • Encoding: the conversion of incoming information into a form that can be stored in memory.

  • Storage: maintaining information in memory over a period of time.

  • Retrieval: the process of searching for stored information and bringing it to mind.


Basic Reasons for Forgetting

  • Encoding Failure: information did not get into memory.

  • Storage Failure: information has disappeared from memory; it is no longer in storage.

  • Retrieval Failure: information is stored in memory but it cannot be located.


Two Major Theories of Forgetting

  • Decay Theory: information in memory eventually disappears if it is not used. (“Use it or lose it.”)

  • Interference Theory: information stays in memory permanently even if it is not used. Forgetting occurs because other things we have learned somehow prevent us from finding the information we want.


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A famous experiment that supported the interference theory and went against the decay theory (Jenkins & Dallenbach, 1924).

You learn a list of 10 “nonsense syllables” (like XUG or MUW), then get a test on it 1, 2, 4 or 8 hours later (“retention interval”).

Does it matter if you are asleep or awake during this retention interval?


Predictions

We are exposed to new information when we are awake but not when we are asleep.

Compare the amount recalled after 8 hours awake to the amount recalled after 8 hours asleep.

Your choices:

(A) Recall will be higher after being asleep.

(B) Recall will be higher after being awake.

(C) Asleep = awake.

Decay Theory predicts: ?

Interference Theory predicts: ?


Predictions

Decay Theory predicts: C

Interference Theory predicts: A


Results Supported the Interference Theory

Asleep

Syllables Recalled (out of 10)

0 5 10

Awake

0 2 4 6 8

Retention Interval


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