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Journal ArticleDOI

Oh, Honey, I Already Forgot That : Strategic Control of Directed Forgetting in Older and Younger Adults*

01 Sep 2008-Psychology and Aging (NIH Public Access)-Vol. 23, Iss: 3, pp 621-633

TL;DR: Two experiments investigated list-method directed forgetting with older and younger adults and showed that age-related differences in directed forgetting occurred because older adults were less likely than younger adults to initiate a strategy to attempt to forget.

AbstractThis article is about age-related differences in intentional forgetting of unwanted information. Imagine receiving medication and reading the directions on how to take it. Afterwards, the doctor tells you to take a different dosage at a different time from that printed on the label. Updating the directions may necessitate intentional forgetting of the earlier-learned information. The current article took one approach to examining this issue by examining age differences in the effectiveness of intentional forgetting using the popular list-method directed forgetting procedure invented by R. A. Bjork, LaBerge, and LeGrand (1968).

Topics: Forgetting (65%), Motivated forgetting (58%)

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Citations
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: It is demonstrated that the ability to intentionally regulate conscious awareness of unwanted memories through inhibitory control declines with age, highlighting differences in memory control that may be of clinical relevance in the aftermath of unpleasant life events.
Abstract: People often encounter reminders to memories that they would prefer not to think about. When this happens, they often try to exclude the unwanted memory from awareness, a process that relies upon inhibitory control. We propose that the ability to regulate awareness of unwanted memories through inhibition declines with advancing age. In two experiments, we examined younger and older adults’ ability to intentionally suppress retrieval when repeatedly confronted with reminders to an experience they were instructed to not think about. Older adults exhibited significantly less forgetting of the suppressed items compared to younger adults on a later independent probe test of recall, indicating that older adults failed to inhibit the to-be-avoided memories. These findings demonstrate that the ability to intentionally regulate conscious awareness of unwanted memories through inhibitory control declines with age, highlighting differences in memory control that may be of clinical relevance in the aftermath of unpleasant life events.

96 citations


Cites background or result from "Oh, Honey, I Already Forgot That : ..."

  • ...This finding may differ from that reported by Sahakyan et al. (2008) with the directed forgetting procedure, perhaps because the Think/No-Think task confronts participants with strong cues to well learned responses that may create a more challenging control task....

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  • ...…indicates that older adults sometimes are less able to intentionally forget a first list of memory items when given an instruction to forget followed by a second list (Sahakyan et al., 2008; Zacks, Radvanksy, & Hasher, 1996; however, see Zellner & Bäuml, 2006; Sego, Goldin, & Gottlob, 2006)....

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  • ...It remains unclear, however, whether the reduced forgetting for older adults observed in the directed forgetting procedure reflects an inhibition deficit, or a tendency, on the part of older adults, to simply not try to forget because they feel they do not need to (Sahakyan et al., 2008)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Results of two experiments support a context-change account of the amnesic effects of daydreaming, which suggests that daydreams that are more different from the current moment will result in more forgetting than daydreamed that are less different fromThe current moment.
Abstract: Daydreaming mentally transports people to another place or time. Many daydreams are similar in content to the thoughts that people generate when they intentionally try to forget. Thus, thoughts like those generated during daydreaming can cause forgetting of previously encoded events. We conducted two experiments to test the hypothesis that daydreams that are more different from the current moment (e.g., in distance, time, or circumstance) will result in more forgetting than daydreams that are less different from the current moment, because they result in a greater contextual shift. Daydreaming was simulated in the laboratory via instructions to engage in a diversionary thought. Participants learned a list of words, were asked to think about autobiographical memories, and then learned a second list of words. They tended to forget more words from the first list when they thought about their parents' home than when they thought about their current home (Experiment 1). They also tended to forget more when they thought about an international vacation than when they thought about a domestic vacation (Experiment 2). These results support a context-change account of the amnesic effects of daydreaming.

93 citations


Book ChapterDOI
Abstract: The primary purpose of this chapter is to provide an up-to-date review of the twenty-first century research and theory on list-method directed forgetting (DF) and related phenomena like the context-change effect. Many researchers have assumed that DF is diagnostic of inhibition, but we argue for an alternative, noninhibitory account and suggest reinterpretation of earlier findings. We first describe what DF is and the state of the art with regard to measuring the effect. Then, we review recent evidence that brings DF into the family of effects that can be explained by global memory models. The process-based theory we advocate is that the DF impairment arises from mental context change and that the DF benefits emerge mainly but perhaps not exclusively from changes in encoding strategy. We review evidence (some new to this paper) that strongly suggests that DF arises from the engagement of controlled forgetting strategies that are independent of whether people believed the forget cue or not. Then we describe the vast body of literature supporting that forgetting strategies result in contextual change effects, as well as point out some inconsistencies in the DF literature that need to be addressed in future research. Next, we provide evidence—again, some of it new to this chapter—that the reason people show better memory after a forget cue is that they change encoding strategies. In addition to reviewing the basic research with healthy population, we reinterpret the evidence from the literature on certain clinical populations, providing a critique of the work done to date and outlining ways of improving the methodology for the study of DF in special populations. We conclude with a critical discussion of alternative approaches to understanding DF.

65 citations


Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Performing action phrases (subject-performed tasks, SPTs) leads to better memory than verbal learning instructions (verbal tasks, VTs). In Experiments 1–3, the list-method directed forgetting design produced equivalent directed forgetting impairment for VTs and SPTs; however, directed forgetting enhancement emerged only for VTs, but not SPTs. Serial position analyses revealed that both item types suffered equivalent forgetting across serial positions, but enhancement was evident mostly in the first half of List 2. Experiment 4 used the item-method of directed forgetting and obtained greater directed forgetting for VTs than SPTs. A remember-all baseline group allowed estimating the impairment for to-be-forgotten (TBF) items and enhancement for to-be-remembered (TBR) items. Serial position analyses showed greater impairment for TBF items from the beginning of the list than elsewhere in the list. Directed forgetting enhancement for TBR items occurred throughout the list for VTs, but only in the primacy region for SPTs. Overall, dissociations across the list-method and item-method studies with SPTs suggest that the two methods have different underlying mechanisms. Furthermore, dissociations obtained with SPTs within list-method studies provide support for the dual-factor directed forgetting account and challenge the single-factor accounts.

60 citations


Cites background from "Oh, Honey, I Already Forgot That : ..."

  • ...…investigations of directed forgetting have also taken this approach (e.g., Bäuml et al., 2008; Pastötter & Bäuml, 2007; Sahakyan & Delaney, 2005; Sahakyan & Goodmon, 2007; Sahakyan et al., 2008; Zellner & Bäuml, 2006).1 Unless otherwise specified, the results were significant at a = .05 level....

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  • ...Recent investigations of directed forgetting have also taken this approach (e.g., Bäuml et al., 2008; Pastötter & Bäuml, 2007; Sahakyan & Delaney, 2005; Sahakyan & Goodmon, 2007; Sahakyan et al., 2008; Zellner & Bäuml, 2006)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The findings suggest that two separate factors can contribute to list 2 enhancement: one (encoding) factor that is restricted to early list 2 items and does not depend on list output order, and another (retrieval) factors that pertains to all list 2Items and varies with the two lists’ output order.
Abstract: In list-method directed forgetting, people are cued to forget a previously studied item list and to learn a new list instead Such cuing typically leads to forgetting of the first list and to memory enhancement of the second, referred to as list 1 forgetting and list 2 enhancement In the present study, two experiments are reported that examined influences of items’ serial learning position in a list and the two lists’ output order on list-method directed forgetting The results show that list output order influences list 2 enhancement but not list 1 forgetting The enhancement was higher when list 2 was recalled first than when list 1 was recalled first and, in both cases, was higher for early list 2 items than for middle and late list 2 items In contrast, the forgetting was equally present for all list 1 items and did not depend on the two lists’ output order The findings suggest that two separate factors can contribute to list 2 enhancement: one (encoding) factor that is restricted to early list 2 items and does not depend on list output order, and another (retrieval) factor that pertains to all list 2 items and varies with the two lists’ output order A new two-mechanism account of directed forgetting is suggested that reconciles previous (encoding or retrieval) views on list 2 enhancement

50 citations


References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The role of stereotype vulnerability in the standardized test performance of ability-stigmatized groups is discussed and mere salience of the stereotype could impair Blacks' performance even when the test was not ability diagnostic.
Abstract: Stereotype threat is being at risk of confirming, as self-characte ristic, a negative stereotype about one's group. Studies 1 and 2 varied the stereotype vulnerability of Black participants taking a difficult verbal test by varying whether or not their performance was ostensibly diagnostic of ability, and thus, whether or not they were at risk of fulfilling the racial stereotype about their intellectual ability. Reflecting the pressure of this vulnerability, Blacks underperformed in relation to Whites in the ability-diagnostic condition but not in the nondiagnostic condition (with Scholastic Aptitude Tests controlled). Study 3 validated that ability-diagnosticity cognitively activated the racial stereotype in these participants and motivated them not to conform to it, or to be judged by it. Study 4 showed that mere salience of the stereotype could impair Blacks' performance even when the test was not ability diagnostic. The role of stereotype vulnerability in the standardized test performance of ability-stigmatized groups is discussed. Not long ago, in explaining his career-long preoccupation with the American Jewish experience, the novelist Philip Roth said that it was not Jewish culture or religion per se that fascinated him, it was what he called the Jewish "predicament." This is an apt term for the perspective taken in the present research. It focuses on a social-psychological predicament that can arise from widely-known negative stereotypes about one's group. It is this: the existence of such a stereotype means that anything one does or any of one's features that conform to it make the stereotype more plausible as a self-characterization in the eyes of others, and perhaps even in one's own eyes. We call this predicament stereotype threat and argue that it is experienced, essentially, as a self-evaluative threat. In form, it is a predicament that can beset the members of any group about whom negative stereotypes exist. Consider the stereotypes elicited by the terms yuppie, feminist, liberal, or White male. Their prevalence in society raises the possibility for potential targets that the stereotype is true of them and, also, that other people will see them that way. When the allegations of the stereotype are importantly

6,807 citations


"Oh, Honey, I Already Forgot That : ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Activating negative stereotypes impairs performance on other cognitive tasks (e.g., Steele & Aronson, 1995; Rahhal et al., 2001)....

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Book
03 Jul 2010
Abstract: Psychology of Learning and Motivation publishes empirical and theoretical contributions in cognitive and experimental psychology, ranging from classical and instrumental conditioning to complex learning and problem solving. Each chapter thoughtfully integrates the writings of leading contributors, who present and discuss significant bodies of research relevant to their discipline. Volume 62 includes chapters on such varied topics as automatic logic and effortful beliefs, complex learning and development, bias detection and heuristics thinking, perceiving scale in real and virtual environments, using multidimensional encoding and retrieval contexts to enhance our understanding of source memory, causes and consequences of forgetting in thinking and remembering and people as contexts in conversation. * Volume 62 of the highly regarded Psychology of Learning and Motivation series* An essential reference for researchers and academics in cognitive science* Relevant to both applied concerns and basic research

3,850 citations


Book ChapterDOI
TL;DR: This chapter discusses the theoretical and empirical literature that addresses aging and discourse comprehension and a series of five studies guided by a particular working memory viewpoint regarding the formation of inferences during discourse processing are described.
Abstract: Publisher Summary This chapter discusses the theoretical and empirical literature that addresses aging and discourse comprehension. A series of five studies guided by a particular working memory viewpoint regarding the formation of inferences during discourse processing is described in the chapter. Compensatory strategies may be used with different degrees of likelihood across the life span largely as a function of efficiency with which inhibitory mechanisms function because these largely determine the facility with which memory can be searched. The consequences for discourse comprehension in particular may be profound because the establishment of a coherent representation of a message hinges on the timely retrieval of information necessary to establish coreference among certain critical ideas. Discourse comprehension is an ideal domain for assessing limited capacity frameworks because most models of discourse processing assume that multiple components, demanding substantially different levels of cognitive resources, are involved. For example, access to a lexical representation from either a visual array or an auditory message is virtually capacity free.

3,204 citations


"Oh, Honey, I Already Forgot That : ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...Given that older adults’ memory deficits have been attributed in part to impaired inhibitory abilities (e.g., Hasher & Zacks, 1988) or to associative memory deficits, including difficulties in binding events to their context (e.g., Chalfonte & Johnson, 1996; M. K. Johnson, 1997; Naveh-Benjamin,…...

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BookDOI
01 Jan 1992
Abstract: The study of age-related changes in cognitive processes is flourishing as never before, making the area an exciting one for a growing number of researchers. In addition, cognitive aging research is moving out from its traditional roots in experimental and developmental psychology -- creating increased contact with cognitive neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. To reflect these changes in the field, this volume includes chapters on abnormal aging, the neuroscience of aging, and applied cognitive psychology along with the core section on basic cognitive processes. While other recent compilations of research in this area have given relatively brief overviews of the literature, the contributors were given space to review each topic in depth, asked to evaluate the field -- not simply their own contributions -- and to provide critical commentaries from their personal perspectives. Couched most often in terms of cognitive or information-processing models, the general perspective of the contributors is a biologically-based account of aging. This shared viewpoint gives the volume particular coherence in its treatment of theories and data. Topics covered include age differences in attention, perception, memory, knowledge representation, reasoning, and language as well as their neuropsychological and neurological correlates and practical implications.

2,377 citations


"Oh, Honey, I Already Forgot That : ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...It is known that older adults have negative stereotypes about the effects of aging on memory (Camp & Pignatiello, 1988; Hertzog & Hultsch, 2000; Hummert, 1990; Kite & Johnson, 1988; Lineweaver & Hertzog, 1998; Ryan, 1992), and believe that they will perform more poorly on memory tests compared to younger adults (Berry & West, 1993; Cavanaugh, 1996; Cavanaugh & Green, 1990; West & Berry, 1994)....

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Book
01 Jan 1973
Abstract: Published in 1980, part of the Experimental Psychology series. This book proposes and tests a theory about human memory, about how a person encodes, retains, and retrieves information from memory. This edition contains two major parts. First is the historical analysis of associationism and its countertraditions. This still provides the framework that has been used to relate the current research to an important intellectual tradition. This is reproduced without comment from the original book; historical analyses do not need as rapid revision as theoretical analyses. The second part of the book reproduces the major components of the HAM theory.

2,306 citations


"Oh, Honey, I Already Forgot That : ..." refers background in this paper

  • ...…about the temporal–spatial–mental context— that is, the time–place of an event, as well as the internal cognitive state of the participant (e.g., Anderson & Bower, 1973; Gillund & Shiffrin, 1984; Humphreys, 1976; M. K. Johnson & Chalfonte, 1994; M. K. Johnson, Hashtroudi, & Lindsay, 1993;…...

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