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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.
Abstract: This 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).

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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.

100 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.

99 citations

Book ChapterDOI
TL;DR: The authors 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.
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.

76 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors used the item-method of directed forgetting and obtained greater directed forgetting for VTs than SPTs, but only in the primacy region for SPTs.

70 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: Age effects were reliably larger when the item method was used, suggesting that these effects are mainly due to encoding differences.
Abstract: In this meta-analysis, we examined the effects of aging on directed forgetting. A cue to forget is more effective in younger (d = 1.17) than in older (d = 0.81) adults. Directed-forgetting effects were larger (a) with the item method rather than with the list method, (b) with longer presentation times, (c) with longer postcue rehearsal times, (d) with single words rather than with verbal action phrases as stimuli, (e) with shorter lists, and (f) when recall rather than recognition was tested. Age effects were reliably larger when the item method was used, suggesting that these effects are mainly due to encoding differences.

60 citations

References
More filters
Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A role for relational information was examined for the paradigm in which recognition-memory performance on items tested in the same context in which they were studied is compared with performance onItems tested in different contexts.
Abstract: A role for relational information was examined for the paradigm in which recognition-memory performance on items tested in the same context in which they were studied is compared with performance on items tested in different contexts. Over a series of five experiments, randomly formed pairs were used to manipulate the context of high-frequency English words. Comparisons were made between instructional manipulations designed to influence the use of relational information, and between yes/no, confidence rating (both between- and within-subject), and forced-choice tasks. There was a context effect not due to the use of inappropriate response strategies. However, high-criterion subjects resembled those subjects who were specifically instructed to use relational information, while low-criterion subjects showed little or no context effect. A model specifying the relationship between item and relational information and how relational information influences decisions in recognition-memory paradigms was proposed.

140 citations


Additional excerpts

  • ...…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; Schacter, Norman, & Koustaal, 1998)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the benefits of directed forgetting are explained by the differences in recall arising from individual strategy choices used to encode List 2, and the benefits are best explained by a more frequent use of deeper encoding of the second list by the forget group participants.

138 citations

Book
01 Jan 1990
TL;DR: A review of cognitive aging can be found in this article, where a tutorial review of discourse processing and aging is presented. But the authors do not discuss the relationship between personality and cognition and their implications for theories of aging.
Abstract: Basic concepts in cognition and aging (E.A. Lovelace). Automaticity of encoding and episodic memory processes (D.H. Kausler). Adult age differences in memory for pictures and images (A.D. Smith and D.C. Park). Aging and attention: Selectivity, capacity, and arousal (D.J. Plude and J.A. Doussard-Roosevelt). Age-related deficits in cognitive-motor skills (N.L. Goggin and G.E. Stelmach). Aging and metacognitions concerning memory function (E.A. Lovelace). I believe, therefore I can: Self-efficacy beliefs in memory aging (J.C. Cavanaugh and E.E. Green). Memory interventions in aging populations (S. Kotler-Cope and C.J. Camp). Current issues in cognitive training research (S.L. Willis). Aging and word retrieval: Selective age deficits in language (D.M. Burke and G.D. Laver). The way reading and listening work: A tutorial review of discourse processing and aging (E.A.L. Stine). Adult age differences in traditional and practical problem solving (N.W. Denney). Interactions between personality and cognition and their implications for theories of aging (D.P. Gold and T.Y. Arbuckle). Intellectual abilities and age: Concepts, theories and analyses (W.R. Cunningham and A. Tomer). Cognitive aging : A summary overview (E.A. Lovelace). Author index. Subject index.

135 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The findings suggest that although both groups retain high-value information, older adults rely more on gist-based encoding and retrieval operations, whereas younger adults are able to remember specific numeric value information.
Abstract: The ability to selectively remember important information is a critical function of memory. Although previous research has suggested that older adults are impaired in a variety of episodic memory tasks, recent work has demonstrated that older adults can selectively remember high-value information. In the present research, we examined how younger and older adults selectively remembered words with various assigned numeric point values, to see whether younger adults could remember more specific value information than could older adults. Both groups were equally good at recalling point values when recalling the range of high-value words, but younger adults outperformed older adults when recalling specific values. Although older adults were more likely to recognize negative value words, both groups exhibited control by not recalling negative value information. The findings suggest that although both groups retain high-value information, older adults rely more on gist-based encoding and retrieval operations, whereas younger adults are able to remember specific numeric value information.

132 citations


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

  • ...For example, in one of their experiments, Castel et al. (2007) had participants study a list of items that were associated with positive or negative point values....

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  • ...Conceptually, Castel et al.’s (2007) selective remembering paradigm shares similarities with directed forgetting task, in which to-be-forgotten items can be thought of as having negative value points....

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01 Jan 1994

123 citations


Additional excerpts

  • ...…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; Schacter, Norman, & Koustaal, 1998)....

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