- Memory Questions
- Information processing model: Sensory, working, and long term memory
- Encoding strategies
- Retrieval cues
- Retrieval: Free recall, cued recall, and recognition
- Memory reconstruction, source monitoring, and emotional memories
- Long term potentiation and synaptic plasticity
- Decay and interference
- Aging and cognitive abilities
- Alzheimer's disease and Korsakoff's syndrome
- Semantic networks and spreading activation
Learn about decay and interference in human memory.
. Created by Carole Yue.
. Created by Carole Yue.
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- So is this what explains the deal in the movie 100 first dates, where she couldn't form new memories? Thanks T.S.(4 votes)
- Not quite. If I remember correctly, in that movie she couldn't form new memories, while she was still able to easily recall events prior to her accident. A part of the brain called the hippocampus (part of the limbic system or primitive brain) is responsible for formation of long-term memories. In one clinical case, a man famously referred to HM before his death (Henry Molaison) had to have his hippocampus removed after a bicycle accident. Believe it or not he had the same symptoms as the girl in the movie, except that his case was much mores severe as he couldn't remember you after a short while of meeting you.
I suggest you read this Wikipedia article about HM:
Hope this helps!(2 votes)
- After the first few days of a new year I continue to write the old year on my papers. Is this an accurate example of proactive interference?(3 votes)
- I don't think that this is an example interference but I may be wrong. Since you know it is a the new year you are not struggling to retrieve it, you simply by force of habit write the previous year. You're not struggling with memory where the previous year hinders your ability to remember the current year. It is more of an automatic response.(3 votes)
- Would this be an example of retroactive inference? You've phoned one pizza company your whole life but after a while you get bored and order from a new place. When you try to order pizza from the frist restaurant, you struggle to remember the number.(1 vote)
- It sounds like there are 2 people explaining this because it has 2 voices. Is this true?(1 vote)
- no, i don't think so. sometimes the way or place where the video was created makes it sound that way(2 votes)
We all know that our memories aren't perfect. As frustrating as it can be, we forget people's names, birthdays, and other things we'd like to remember. One reason forgetting happens is the very normal process of decay. When we don't encode something well or when we don't retrieve it for a long time, we become unable to retrieve it later. One theory about why this happens is that the pathway to and from the memory, meaning the neural connections between the cues and the memory, become weaker over a period of disuse, so it becomes harder to stimulate those neurons. This is sort of the classic use it or lose it problem. If you learned something once and don't ever revisit the memory, it's likely to decay over time. One interesting pattern of decay is that it seems pretty consistent, even for different types of materials. Your initial rate of forgetting is very high, but it levels off after a period of time. Back in the late 1800s, a German philosopher and psychologist named Ebbinghaus was the first person to really look at the decay in human memory. He made himself learn a bunch of three-letter nonsense syllables, and then he tested himself to see how much he remembered at different time intervals, from zero to 30 days. He found that his rate of forgetting was very rapid at first. If he remembered those words after a few days, however, then he generally remembered them for all 30 days. Later on, people replicated this pattern with different materials and over different time intervals. And they found that the more integrated the initial learning is, the more stretched out the rate of forgetting is, but it's still follows the same pattern. For example, if you study a language for a few years, then it'll take you more than a few days to forget it. Similar to Ebbinghaus's original forgetting curve, though, most of your forgetting will occur within the first few years of disuse. After that point, your forgetting will pretty much level off. The interesting thing about decay and forgetting is that just because you can't retrieve something doesn't mean it's completely gone from your long-term memory. Other than outright retrieval, one way we can tell if people have learned something before is by how quickly they re-learn that information or skill. So remember Ebbinghaus? In addition to forgetting, he studied re-learning with those same three-letter nonsense syllables. He found that even if he couldn't produce all the syllables from his list, it took him less time to learn the list the second time around than the first time, indicating that some foundation of the memory still existed, even though he couldn't produce it at the time. This foundation is called savings, because it's what saved in your memory, whether you realize it or not Re-learning works with procedural skills, too. For example, imagine that you learned how to play particular song on the piano a few months ago, but you can't play any of it today. Now I give you the music to that song and ask you to learn it again. If the inability to retrieve something meant that it was completely gone from your long term memory, then it would take you the same amount of time to learn the song the second time around. However it probably would take you less time to re-learn it than it did for you to learn it originally. This faster rate of re-learning tells us that you still have some information about that song stored in your long-term memory. Sometimes decay isn't the problem, though. It's that something else seems to be blocking our ability to get to the information we want. This experience is called interference, and there are two main types-- retroactive and proactive. Retroactive interference is interference that goes backwards, that is, some new piece of learning seems to reach back and impair your ability to retrieve something you used to know. For example, when you move to a new place, you get used to writing your new address on all the different forms and documents and stuff. And after a while of using this new address, you may find it difficult to recall your old one. In this case, your new address would be running some retroactive interference on your old address Proactive interference, on the other hand, is interference acting forward. Something you learned in the past gets in the way of your ability to learn and retrieve something correctly in the future. So I'll give you an example of something that happened to me a few months ago. I used one password for my email for a really long time. But then I had to change it. Sometimes when I log in, it's still hard for me to remember what my new password is, because all I can come up with is my old one. In this case, the prior learning up my old password is impeding my ability to remember the new one.