- Entries A-Z
In the context of memory research, interference theory proposes that individuals forget information as a result of competition from other information. According to interference theory, there are two main types of interference: retroactive and proactive. Retroactive interference occurs when the introduction of novel information impairs one's ability to retain previously learned information. For example, if a student studied for a biology exam followed by mathematics, any interference generated from studying for the mathematics exam would be considered to be retroactive. Proactive interference occurs when previously learned information interferes with the ability to retain new information. Using the same example as above, any interference generated from studying biology would be considered to be proactive. Empirical research has shown that greater levels of interference are associated with ...