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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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?
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.
(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: ?
Decay Theory predicts: C
Interference Theory predicts: A
Results Supported the Interference Theory
Syllables Recalled (out of 10)
0 5 10
0 2 4 6 8