Forgetting refers to the loss of information that is already encoded and stored within a person’s long-term memory. It takes place at the encoding, retrieval, or storage stage (Wixted, 2004). Though it is not known why people forget information, there exist numerous theories that explain why forgetting takes place as discussed below:
Cue-dependent forgetting is also referred to as retrieval failure, which refers to the failure to remember information because of missing stimuli (cues) that were there during the time the information was encoded (Wixted, 2004). According to this theory, memory can be provisionally forgotten simply because it cannot be retrieved. However, with the appropriate stimuli, it can be brought back to mind. An example is searching for a textbook in the library without any information on the title, reference number, or author.
Interference theory refers to the notion that when a new idea is learnt, it causes the older information to be forgotten due to the contest between the two. The interference is said to emanate from an environment that is over-stimulated (Wixted, 2004). There are two forms of interference i.e. proactive and retroactive interference. Retroactive interference occurs when new information interferes with the retrieval of older memory while proactive interference occurs when retrieval of new information is interfered with by the old memories (Wixted, 2004).
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Example of Forgetting From Personal Experience
A close friend of mine suffered a brain injury five years ago from a car accident that left him suffering from amnesia. When he was released from the hospital, he was unable to recall anything that happened to him prior to his accident.
Difference between Implicit and Explicit Memory
Implicit memory refers to the non-conscious, non-verbal memories of the precise step-by-step procedures or emotions (Wixted, 2004). For instance, being able to perform different processes entailed in driving a car is mainly non-conscious. In contrast, explicit memories refer to conscious memories that are memorized verbally. They are complex and involve memorizing numerous varieties of aspects of circumstances (Wixted, 2004). For instance, recalling the events of last year, involve recalling the place, day, and even the people that were present at the event.
How Forgetting Processes Differ Between These Two Types of Memory
According to research, adults have been found to exhibit forgetting in tasks involving explicit memories, but not those that involve implicit memories (Wixted, 2004).
Whether False Memories Can Be Created Under Certain Circumstances
Recovered memories refer to the clear resurrection of the memory of events that have been forgotten for a long time (Kihlstrom, 1995). The false memory issue has sparked a heated debate, especially within the mental health profession in the recent times. Certain researchers maintain that memories of traumatic events are buried inside the subconscious mind via a special process that permits a reliable recovery later (Kihlstrom, 1995). In addition, there are those who claim that traumatic events that are genuine are hard to forget and that evidence from scientific studies has shown that traumatic amnesia is just a myth (Kihlstrom, 1995). This question presents my argument regarding the creation of false memories.
According to Kihlstrom (1995), various researches done in psychology labs have found out that false memories can be created in certain situations, for example, in eyewitness memory, word-learning exercise etc. Psychologists argue that even if memories are subject to distortion, there are editing mechanisms that people use to correct the distortions; thus, it is possible to depend on the memories to be logically accurate. A research carried out by Lampinen alongside his colleagues, revealed that there is a possibility of people adopting details of real events to amplify false memories in a manner that makes it real, using a process referred to as content borrowing (Kihlstrom, 1995). From the above research studies, it is evident that false memories can be created, making me agree with the idea that indeed false memories can be created under certain circumstances.
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