Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Is There Hypermnesia and Reminiscence for Information Intentionally Forgotten?

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Is There Hypermnesia and Reminiscence for Information Intentionally Forgotten?

Article excerpt

Abstract Memory performance was examined across consecutive tests in three directed-forgetting experiments. Following word-method or list-method cueing to forget, significant directed forgetting was observed for all tests: Free recall for remember cue words always exceeded free recall for forget cue words. Moreover, following either cueing method, similar magnitudes of hypermnesia (improved free recall across tests) and reminiscence (recovery of words across tests) were observed for both word types. Regardless of cueing method, after an initial free recall test, the level of recovery for both word types did not differ significantly. That is, directed forgetting was not observed for the reminiscence data. Taken together, the pattern of results suggest that cues to forget impair the encoding of information but, after an initial memory test, they do not interrupt the accessing of that information. These findings are consistent with the selective rehearsal account but not the retrieval inhibition account of directed forgetting.

Resume Trois experiences dirigees sur le processus d'oubli ont permis d'etudier le rendement de la memoire lors de tests consecutifs. A la suite d'une methode d'indicage basee sur un mot ou sur une liste a oublier, un oubli dirige important a pu etre observe dans tous les tests : le rappel libre pour se souvenir des mots indices etait toujours superieur au rappel libre pour oublier les mots indices. De plus, a la suite de chacune des methodes d'indicage, les memes magnitudes d'hypermnesie (rappel libre ameliore d'un test a l'autre) et de reminiscence (recuperation des mots d'un test a l'autre) ont ete observees pour les deux types de mots. Quelle que soit la methode d'indicage, apres un premier test de rappel libre, le niveau de recuperation des deux types de mots ne variait pas de facon significative. Autrement dit, le processus d'oubli n'a pas ete observe pour les donnees de reminiscence. Dans l'ensemble, la distribution des resultats suggere que les indices pour oublier ont nui a l'encodage de l'information mais, apres le premier test de memoire, ils n'interrompent pas l'acces a cette information. Les resultats correspondent a la repetition selective mais pas au processus disruptif de la recuperation de l'oubli dirige.

The study of intentional forgetting involves cueing participants to forget certain already processed information, such as words. Free recall for forget words is typically poorer than that for remember words. The poorer performance for forget words relative to remember words is referred to as the directed-forgetting effect (Bjork, 1970; 1972).

Two common methods of cueing participants to forget are reported in the directed-forgetting literature. Listmethod cueing involves presenting words blocked by cue. After each block, participants are cued either to remember (TBR words) or to forget (TBF words) the previously studied words. In word-method cueing, the remember or forget cue immediately follows each word. Regardless of the cueing method, the typical directed-forgetting effect is poorer free recall for TBF words than for TBR words (Bjork, 1972).

Bjork (1989) proposed that list-method directed forgetting is the result of a combination of two processes: poor encoding and retrieval inhibition (the temporary inability to retrieve information contained in memory). Following the forget cue, participants terminate their processing of the preceding block of TBF words and inhibit accessibility to their retrieval routes in episodic memory (Geiselman Bjork, & Fishman, 1983). Central to the retrieval inhibition account is Bjork's (1989) claim that retrieval inhibition can be released, eliminating directed forgetting.

Geiselman et al. (1983), Geiselman and Bagheri (1985), and more recently Basden, Basden, and Gargano (1993) have reported results supporting the release from inhibition view. In both the Geiselman et al. (1983) and the Basden et al. (1993) investigations, following list-method cueing, re-exposure to TBF words on a recognition test over-rode or released the inhibition acting on these words. …

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