What is the difference between retroactive and proactive interference vs. retroactive and proactive amnesia?
I always ask, “what did I forget?” If you forgot the item you learned first, that is retroactive interference. (“retro” is old). If you forgot the item you learned later, that is proactive interference.
Proactive interference occurs when old information blocks (interferes) with new information. For example, has a friend of yours ever gotten a new phone number and you keep trying the old one? This is proactive interference.
Retroactive interference occurs when new information blocks old information. Flip the example above, after you change your phone number, it’s possible that you suddenly can’t remember your old one!
The root retro-, pro- and antero- all refer to what was forgotten, so in retroactive interference, past information is hard to recall with new info while in proactive information, new content hinders with recall of past content. Similarly retrograde amnesia means that you can’t remember old memories while in anterograde amnesia, new memories can’t be made or remembered. Just remember retro- means past!
If your partner dumps you because you called them the name of the last person you were dating, you’ve been victimized by proactive interference (the old name came forward and blocked the new name). If your partner dumps you because you call them the name of the person you’ve start seeing on the side, your relationship has been ruined by the workings of retroactive interference (new new name came back and blocked the old one).
Can I encourage PORN on here? J/K.
O-ld interfering with the new-(I’m struggling learning a Spanish b/c English gets in the way)
N-ew interfering with the old-(after studying in Spain, I’m struggling remembering the English words)
Retro = old (retro jeans) so retrograde amnesia is not recalling the old
Antero = new so anterograde amnesia is not creating new memories
Are interference and amnesia synonymous or do they mean two different things?
Interference implies that I have access to it, but something is getting in the way. I forgot what I needed at the grocery store after stopping to talk with a friend.
Amnesia is a form of loss of memory altogether. I simply don’t have access. I was never really capable of remembering the grocery list.
I think you mean anterograde and retrograde amnesia. It’s different from interference. Anterograde amnesia is what happened to HM after his surgery. He couldn’t form new memories. Retrograde amnesia, which is usually temporary after a concussion, is the inability to remember things in the past.