Can you Forget what you Believe? Directed Forgetting of Attitude Information

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

Abstract: Research shows that people can intentionally forget previously learned information when instructed to do so - known as the directed forgetting effect (for a review, see MacLeod 1998). The current experiments investigated intentional forgetting of self-relevant information presented in the form of political attitude statements. Groups of Republicans and Democrats participated in two list-method directed forgetting studies, during which they studied a mixture of statements that expressed representative views of these parties. Experiment 1 results revealed that both Republicans and Democrats showed directed forgetting of statements expressing the views of the opposing political party, but showed no directed forgetting of statements expressing the views of their own party. In Experiment 2, participants studied the same statements and also rated them for agreement level. The results confirmed that regardless of the party affiliation, there was no directed forgetting of statements that participants agreed with; however there was directed forgetting of statements with which they disagreed or felt neutral about. Attitudes that people agree with are integrated in memory as an intrinsic part of the self concept, this integration, in turn, acts to prevent directed forgetting of this type of information.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2007
Directed Forgetting, Attitudes, Memory, Politics

Email this document to