When intended remembering leads to unintended forgetting

  title={When intended remembering leads to unintended forgetting},
  author={Benjamin C Storm and Elizabeth Ligon Bjork and Robert A. Bjork},
  journal={Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology},
  pages={909 - 915}
As a means of clarifying the memory dynamics that underlie retrieval-induced forgetting, we explored how instructing participants either to remember or to forget a previously presented list of items influences the susceptibility of those items to inhibition. According to the inhibitory account of retrieval-induced forgetting, it is the items that interfere most with retrieval practice that should be the most susceptible to the effects of inhibition. Consistent with this prediction, items from… 

Figures from this paper

The Benefit of Forgetting in Thinking and Remembering
Forgetting is a surprising and unintended consequence of remembering. Research on retrieval-induced forgetting has shown that retrieval of one item in memory can cause the forgetting of other items
Unblocking memory through directed forgetting
The ability to remember an item can be blocked, or negatively primed, by exposure to related items. For example, ALLERGY is less likely to be generated given the word fragment A_L_ _GY if one is
Retrieval-Induced Forgetting of Emotional Autobiographical Memories
Retrieval-induced forgetting is a phenomenon in which the retrieval of an item from memory causes the forgetting of other related or competing items. This forgetting is thought to be the consequence
Interference in episodic memory: retrieval-induced forgetting of unknown words
The results show that episodic associations suffice for selective retrieval of verbal material to entail retrieval-induced forgetting independent of association strength between items and categories in semantic memory.
Accelerated relearning after retrieval-induced forgetting: the benefit of being forgotten.
Of most interest, and very surprising from a common-sense standpoint, items that were relearned benefited more from that relearning if they had previously been forgotten.
Inhibition in memory
It is shown that the paradigms that are likely to generate the best evidence for inhibition are the retrieval induced forgetting paradigm and the think / no-think paradigm.
Inhibition in Memory
There is a need for a consistent and preferably formalized model that combines inhibition and competition as principal factors in forgetting.
Retrieval-practice task affects relationship between working memory capacity and retrieval-induced forgetting
This work manipulated the way in which participants retrieved items during retrieval practice and examined how the resulting effects of forgetting correlated with working memory capacity and stop-signal reaction times, providing important new insight into the role of executive-control processes in RIF.
Forgetting as a consequence of retrieval: a meta-analytic review of retrieval-induced forgetting.
The first major meta-analysis of retrieval-induced forgetting is conducted, quantitatively evaluating the multitude of findings used to contrast these 2 theoretical viewpoints, and the results largely supported inhibition accounts but also provided some challenging evidence.


Positive forgetting: The noninterference of Items intentionally forgotten
Is retrieval-induced forgetting an inhibitory process?
The findings indicate that the retrieval-induced forgetting effect is replicable but that previous findings supporting an inhibitory account of this phenomenon may not be.
Remembering can cause forgetting: retrieval dynamics in long-term memory.
A critical role for suppression in models of retrieval inhibition and a retrieval-induced forgetting that implicate the retrieval process itself in everyday forgetting are suggested.
Inhibitory processes and the control of memory retrieval
On the status of inhibitory mechanisms in cognition: memory retrieval as a model case.
It is argued that inhibitory processes are used to resolve computational problems of selection common to memory retrieval and selective attention and that retrieval is best regarded as conceptually focused selective attention.
Memory retrieval and suppression: the inhibition of situation models.
  • G. Radvansky
  • Psychology, Biology
    Journal of experimental psychology. General
  • 1999
Evidence was found for negative priming of related but irrelevant situation models, thus supporting the idea that the inhibition of highly related memory traces is used in long-term memory retrieval.
Is retrieval success a necessary condition for retrieval-induced forgetting?
Using a procedure in which some cues posed an impossible retrieval task for participants, evidence is reported that the attempt to retrieve, even if unsuccessful, can produce retrieval-induced forgetting, which supports and refines a suppression/inhibitory account of retrieval- induced forgetting.
Continuing Influences of To-Be-Forgotten Information
It is argued that it is critical for humans to forget; that is, to have some means of preventing out-of-date information from interfering with the recall of current information, and that the primary means of accomplishing adaptive updating of human memory is retrieval inhibition.
Semantic Generation Can Cause Episodic Forgetting
  • K. Bäuml
  • Psychology
    Psychological science
  • 2002
This result indicates that, first, semantic generation can cause recall-specific episodic forgetting and, second, retrieval-induced forgetting can occur even if the retrieved and nonretrieved items belong to different experiential episodes and tasks.