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