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Forgetting in LTM. Availability vs accessibility Interference Suggests that information forgotten from LTM has disappeared completely Cue dependent forgetting Suggests that forgotten information is still stored, but is (temporarily) inaccessible. www.psychlotron.org.uk. Interference.

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Forgetting in ltm
Forgetting in LTM

  • Availability vs accessibility

  • Interference

    • Suggests that information forgotten from LTM has disappeared completely

  • Cue dependent forgetting

    • Suggests that forgotten information is still stored, but is (temporarily) inaccessible

www.psychlotron.org.uk


Interference
Interference

  • Forgetting occurs when information to be stored is similar to information already in LTM

    • Retroactive - new info ‘overwrites’ previously stored info

    • Proactive - previously stored info prevents new info from being stored properly

  • Predicts that forgetting will increase with similarity of information

www.psychlotron.org.uk


Interference1
Interference

  • McGeoch & MacDonald (1931)

  • PPs had to learn lists of adjectives, recall after a delay. Three conditions:

    • Did nothing between learning & recall

    • Learned additional unrelated material

    • Learned additional adjectives

  • Most forgetting in group 3

  • Supports prediction that forgetting is a function of similarity

www.psychlotron.org.uk


Interference2
Interference

  • Tulving (1966)

    • PPs asked to free recall word lists they had previously learned

    • Recall tested on several different occasions

  • Generally, PPs recalled about 50% of the words, but not always the same 50%

    • Suggests that words had not disappeared but had actually been inaccessible

    • This is contrary to what interference theory suggests

www.psychlotron.org.uk


Interference3
Interference

  • Clearly it is possible to confuse similar information

  • Some experiments support interference theory, but they are very artificial

  • Information that has been forgotten often becomes recoverable later

  • Unlikely that interference accounts for most of the forgetting we do

www.psychlotron.org.uk


Cue dependent forgetting
Cue Dependent Forgetting

  • Forgetting occurs when information becomes inaccessible

    • We lack the appropriate retrieval cues that will allow us to locate it in LTM

    • Retrieval cues can be external (context) or internal (state)

  • Predicts that remembering will be better when state & context are the same as at the time of learning

www.psychlotron.org.uk


Cue dependent forgetting1
Cue Dependent Forgetting

  • Smith (1970) tested recall of a word list in the original learning context or a different room

    • Same room – 18/80 words

    • Different room – 12/80 words

    • PPs who imagined themselves back in original room recalled avg. 17/80

  • Strong evidence for role of context cues in retrieval

www.psychlotron.org.uk


Cue dependent forgetting2
Cue Dependent Forgetting

  • Fair amount of support for role of state cues in forgetting/remembering e.g

    • Goodwin et al (1969) – heavy drinkers often forgot where they had put things when sober, but remembered once they had drunk sufficient alcohol

    • Eich (1980) similar findings with heavy marijuana users

www.psychlotron.org.uk


Cue dependent forgetting3
Cue Dependent Forgetting

  • Much research support for basic propositions.

    • Retrieval seems to be most likely when conditions match those of initial learning

  • Does not apply equally to all types of info

    • E.g. procedural memories (skills) seem stable, resistant to forgetting and not reliant on retrival cues

www.psychlotron.org.uk


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