Let’s suppose you are trying to remember the name of the professor that gave you a cognitive psychology class in your first year at university. This may turn out to be quite difficult, because you have had many other classes since then with diff erent professors. Th ere are different accounts of why this forgetting occurs. One explanation is that forgetting occurs because of interference when you are trying to retrieve the professor’s name. Because you have had classes by many other professors, the cue professor has been associated to many other names and faces. These names and faces can interfere when you are trying to remember the name of your cognitive psychology professor. Thus, according to interference accounts, forgetting is caused by the addition or strengthening of competing items in memory (e.g., McGeoch, 1932, 1942; Raaijmakers & Shiffrin, 1981; Mensink & Raaijmakers, 1988). A second account of why you are unable to remember the name of your old professor is inhibition. Over the years, there have probably been many occasions on which you retrieved the names of professors of more recent classes. During these retrieval attempts, the name of your old professor may have been activated and this may have given rise to retrieval competition. Because your old professor was not the name you were looking for, the name of your old professor may have been inhibited to make the correct name more available. Because of this inhibition, the name of your old professor may have become more difficult to retrieve at a later time. Th us, according to inhibitory accounts, forgetting is caused by the active suppression of memory items when these memory items compete with the appropriate response (e.g., Anderson, 2003; Anderson & Spellman, 1995; Levy & Anderson, 2002). In this view, forgetting is not a passive consequence of adding new information to memory, but it is an active process. People can exert inhibitory control over the activation of memory traces.

Additional Metadata
Keywords forgetting, interference, latent inhibition, learning, memory
Promotor Schmidt, H.G. (Henk)
Publisher Erasmus University Rotterdam
Sponsor Schmidt, Prof. Dr. H.G. (promotor)
ISBN 978-909021-276-0
Persistent URL hdl.handle.net/1765/8200
Camp, G.. (2006, December 21). Forgetting: Inhibition or Interference?. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/8200