A discussion of two experiments with human verbal learning, and an explanation of the interference phenomena in terms of the EPAM (Elementary Perceiver and Memorizer) model. A model of an association memory, the EPAM, is a learning system, a computer simulation of human verbal learning processes. No stored information in this memory is ever physically destroyed. Yet the behavior which is normally called "forgetting" occurs because of a loss of access (temporary or permanent) to information stored in a growing net of associations. In this system, forgetting occurs as a direct consequence of normal learning processes (i.e., forgetting is the result of the interference of items later learned with items learned earlier) without the postulation of a separate mechanism.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit www.rand.org/pubs/permissions.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.