This lesson is going to look at reason we are unable to retrieve a memory by covering:
Consolidation of memory involves forming a permanent long term memory. Memory is formed through a process of encoding, storage, and later retrieval. Encoding is the first part of forming of that solid long term memory.
If a memory is not available to, then it wasn’t encoded or stored properly. It will not be available at all; consolidation has been interrupted. If a memory is not accessible, it can still be available. A person can still have it consolidated in their memory, but there's a problem with actually retrieving that memory.
One of the reasons that someone can have trouble retrieving a memory is that there's some kind of interference. Interference means when a new or old memory compete with each other and make it difficult for you to remember that kind of information.
There are two different types of interference:
You can't remember a new phone number that you've just learned because it's too similar to your old childhood phone number.
Interference is a way that a person can unintentionally affect the retrieval of memories. Memories can also be intentionally forgot either consciously or unconsciously. This is a way a person protects themselves from psychological harm. This may be especially true to memories that are unpleasant or uncomfortable for a person.
Suppression is a way a person intentionally and consciously attempts to forget a memory that they might have.
A family member brings up something that makes you angry while you're in public, you can intentionally choose to either ignore or forget that memory to avoid a scene. This lets you revisit situation later at a more appropriate time.
Repression is unconsciously forgetting some kind of unpleasant memory.
ER surgeons can repress particularly bad memories of things they saw while they're working like horrific accidents or traumatic stories that they might have encountered.
It's important to note that this can lead to all kinds of harmful psychological effects on its own, according to psychodynamic theories. While repression might be necessary in certain instances, it can also lead to effects in its own right.
Today's lesson has been on a brief overview of memory interference. A person might not be able to retrieve a memory if they have experienced interrupted consolidation. If there is an issue with coding or storing, than the memory will not be available at all.
Sometimes there is interference with the retrieval process, but the memory is still there. A memory can be forgot either consciously or unconsciously through suppression. Suppression is pushing an unpleasant thought or emotion from your mind until there is a more appropriate time to deal with it. On the other hand, repression is unconscious and can cause psychological harm according to psychodynamic theorists.
Keep up the learning and have a great day!
Source: This work is adapted from Sophia author Erick Taggart.
The process of forming permanent, long-term memories.
When new and old memories compete with each other and make it difficult to remember.
Unconsciously forgetting a usually unpleasant memory.
Consciously attempting to forget a memory.