Explanations of Forgetting
Forgetting is ‘the inability to recall or recognise material that was previously stored in memory’, and there have been several explanations provided from a variety of studies investigating how we forget. Depending on whether information is forgotten from sensory memory, short term memory (STM) or long term memory (LTM) it can be due to a lack of availability or accessibility. A lack of availability is where information is not present in STM due to decay and displacement, and a lack of accessibility is in the LTM due to cue dependency and interference.
Forgetting occurs in the STM as it has a limited duration and capacity; once these limits are reached, information is forgotten. If information is forgotten…show more content… Context-dependent forgetting occurs when the environment is different to where information was originally learned, and state-dependent forgetting is where your mood is not the same as when information was learned, and it is relevant as an internal cue (McCormick and Mayer).
The role of retrieval cues is demonstrated by the ‘tip of the tongue’ phenomenon, where we know something but can’t retrieve it at that moment in time. Brown and McNeill (1966) investigated this, and gave participants dictionary definitions of words and asked them to give the word they were describing. Some were sure they knew the word but couldn’t recall it, suggesting the required words were in memory but an absence of a correct retrieval cue prevented recall.
Godden and Baddeley did a study where divers learned a list of words either on land or underwater and were later tested for recall either on land or underwater. They found that divers who learned words in the same environment they recalled them performed better than those who recalled words in a different environment, which suggests that recall of information is better when in the same context of where it was learned. However, Godden and Baddeley repeated their study using recognition as a measure of remembering but found that context had no effect, which may mean that context affects recall only.
Tulving and Pearlstone showed that cued recall is more effective than