Forgetting theory: Interference (Interference: one memory disturbs the…
Forgetting theory: Interference
: one memory disturbs the ability to recall another. This might result in forgetting or distorting one or the other or both. This is more likely to happen if the memories are similar.
This has been proposed as an explanation of forgetting from LTM. LTM is more or less permanent so this theory explains that forgetting is a problem with not having access even though they are available.
Interference between two memories makes it harder for us to locate them. This is forgetting.
Previously learnt information interferes with the new information you are trying to store
For example if you call your new girlfriend by your old girlfriends name.
A new memory interferes with old ones
For example forgetting how to speak French to learn Spanish
McGeoch and McDonald
Experimented with the effects of similarity of materials. Participants were given a list of 10 adjectives (list A). When these were learned List B was given to learn followed by recall
If List B was a list of synonyms of List A, recall was poor; 12%
If List B was nonsense, there was less effect; 26% recall
If List B was numbers then this had the least effect; 37% recall
This shows recall is strongest the more similar the items are
Baddeley and Hitch
They experimented in an everyday setting of rugby players recalling the names of teams they had played against over a season.
Some players played every match but some did not due to injury. Meaning that the time interval from start to end of the season was the same for all the players but the number of intervening games was different for all of them.
All players recalled a similar percentage of the games played because time alone caused forgetting. However players who had played most games forgot proportionally more because of interference.
These results demonstrate the effect of interference in everyday life