The Interference Theory of Forgetting

     Why do we forget something?  This is an important question.   It may reflect memory interference.  The interference theory of forgetting suggest that we would forget something because other information learned is interfering with our ability to recall it.  There are two types of interference.

Proactive Interference

Proactive interference occurs when something that we previously learned interferes with remembering newer information.

      For example, imagine that you took one psychology course last term, and you are currently taking a psychology course that is very similar to the psychology course you took last term.  You are finding it difficult to learn and remember the information in the psychology course you are currently taking.  This may be due to the interference with similar information that you learned in the psychology course you took last term.

Retroactive Interfernce

Retroactive interference occurs when newer information learned interferes with remembering previously learned information.

For example, you may have difficulty remembering what happened at a business meeting over a month ago because of information learned at a more recent business meeting.