Beliefs about item memorability affect metacognitive control in item-method directed forgetting

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Nathaniel Lloyd Foster (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Lili Sahakyan

Abstract: Across six experiments, I examined the role of metacognitive control in item-method directed forgetting. In Experiment 1, participants studied loud and quiet items, which were subsequently cued as to-be-remembered (TBR) or to-be-forgotten (TBF). Typically, the volume of stimuli does not influence recall, although loud items are judged as more memorable than quiet items (Rhodes & Castel, 2009). In contrast, there was a unique recall advantage for loud TBR items when participants engaged in directed forgetting. Giving participants extra opportunities to engage rehearsal does not produce the selective advantage for loud items (Experiment 2), nor does emphasizing the importance of some items over others (Experiments 3 and 4). Experiment 5 manipulated the encoding fluency of the stimuli using a font type manipulation, which did not produce recall differences between the fluently and less fluently processed items despite the effect of font type on judgments of learning. Finally, Experiment 6 investigated participants' beliefs about what helps them disengage from TBF items and what helps them retain TBR items. Specifically, after TBF or TBR items, participants were told to select earlier studied line drawings that varied both in perceptual size (small vs. large size image) and conceptual size (drawing of a small vs. large object in real life). I propose two mechanisms to explain the results. According to the rehearsal strategy mechanism, people use beliefs about item memorability to selectively rehearse certain items as a way to forget other items. According to the salience mechanism, people are drawn to perceptually salient stimuli when performing directed forgetting.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Directed forgetting, Memory, Metacognition
Memory $x Testing

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