The Conversation Theory: The Decay Theory Of Memory

1196 Words5 Pages
Memory consists of the processes that enable us to record, store, and retrieve experiences and information. Humans are dependent on their memory; without the capacity to remember we could not have survived as a species (Passer, Smith, Holt, Bremner, Sutherland and Vliek, 2009). However, memory is not perfect - humans forget. This is partially due to its structure. Sensory memory and working memory do no retain information indefinitely, whereas long term memory does. Consequently, not all information reaches the long term memory, and if some does, difficulties in retrieving it may occur. The interference theory, the decay theory or the motivated forgetting theory all attempt to explain those retrieval impairments and will be presented below.…show more content…
(2009), long time memory is essentially unlimited, information stored in the long term memory is still susceptible to forgetting. One of the most influential theories regarding this issue is the interference theory. That is, we forget information because other items in the long term memory impair our ability to retrieve it (Postman and Underwood , 1973, in Passer, et al., 2009). This is directly linked to the similarity between the two (or more) items. The more similar the objects are, the higher the chances of interference rise. For example, if you watch two or more movies featuring Anthony Hopkins, it will be more difficult to remember the name of one of the movies than if you watch that movie alone. This is not simply due to the fact that there is more information for more films. What happens is that the 'featuring Anthony Hopkins' cue is common, and if this is the only cue to retrieving the desired information, no further distinction is possible between the movies. Confusion may result, and accessing the cue may attend the wrong memory. If you try to remember the name of the last movie with Anthony Hopkins you have watched, but the name of the first movie keeps on sounding in your ears, you experience proactive interference. The reversed process is known as retroactive interference (Passer, et al., 2009). But this is not the only view in the interference theory. A later view, endorsed by Wixted (2005), brings the theory…show more content…
Not using, not rehearsing certain information may lead to the deterioration of the physical trace in the nervous system (Passer, et al., 2009). The neural networks models relate directly to this theory, as they propose that memory hinges on connections between neurons, which form 'nodes', each node corresponding to a particular memory (Passer, et al., 2009). If those connections are not used, they fade. The effect is forgetting. However, there are objections to this theory. In some cases, individuals are able to recall perfectly information that was not used extensively. Musicians, for example, can play pieces that they haven not heard or practiced for years. Furthermore, this theory's prediction, that the longer the interval of disuse between learning and recall, the less should be recalled, is being contradicted the study of Bahrick, Hall, and Berger (1996), cited in Passer, et al.(2009). The study reveals that individuals who studied Spanish in high school typically display better knowledge of the language at 15 years since the completion of the Spanish course than at 3, 5 or 10 years since completion. Another disputed theory is that of motivated forgetting. This theory suggests that, at times, people are consciously or unconsciously motivated to forget unpleasant, embarrassing, anxiety-arousing memories (Passer, et

More about The Conversation Theory: The Decay Theory Of Memory

Open Document