Remember to forget: does strategic retrieval from the list before the last enable forgetting of the most recent information

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Elizabeth T. Gilbert (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Peter Delaney

Abstract: Successful forgetting in list-method directed forgetting procedures has only been observed when new information is encoded following the forget cue. A recent study, however, observed forgetting of the most recent information without post-cue encoding (Racsmány et al., 2018), putatively because proactive interference from previously learned to-be-remembered information is sufficient to cause forgetting. In three Experiments, I aimed to replicate the recent findings and provide an alternative explanation that post-cue encoding occurs covertly. In the forget condition, participants studied two lists of words with a forget cue after the second list, while in the remember condition both lists were cued to-be-remembered. Free recall tests followed each pair of lists. Experiment 1 resulted in no significant directed forgetting effects and thus failed to replicate Racsmány et al.’s results. However, minor changes to the procedure in Experiments 2 and 3 resulted in significant forgetting of the most recent list. The findings indicate that directed forgetting of the most recent information is possible, and that participants may do so by strategically retrieving earlier learned to-be-remembered information. Previous research indicates that explicit retrieval of earlier-leaned information causes a contextual shift, resulting in forgetting of target information.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Context Change, Directed Forgetting, List before Last
Recollection (Psychology)
Thought suppression
Explicit memory

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