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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: The results supported the context hypothesis of directed forgetting and revealed greater directed forgetting of strong items compared with weak items, but only when strength was varied via spaced presentations.
Abstract: Three experiments evaluated whether the magnitude of the list-method directed forgetting effect is strength dependent. Throughout these studies, items were strengthened via operations thought to increase context strength (spaced presentations) or manipulations thought to increment the item strength without affecting the context strength (processing time and processing depth). The assumptions regarding which operations enhance item and context strength were based on the "one-shot" hypothesis of context storage (K. J. Malmberg & R. M. Shiffrin, 2005). The results revealed greater directed forgetting of strong items compared with weak items, but only when strength was varied via spaced presentations (Experiment 3). Equivalent directed forgetting was observed for strong and weak items when strengthening operations increased item strength without affecting the context strength (Experiments 1 and 2). These results supported the context hypothesis of directed forgetting (L. Sahakyan & C. M. Kelley, 2002).

37 citations


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

  • ...Furthermore, whereas the costs are obtained in incidental learning, the benefits are not, presumably because incidental learning instructions are less likely to prompt evaluation and change of study strategy (Sahakyan & Delaney, 2005; Sahakyan et al., 2008)....

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Journal ArticleDOI

37 citations


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

  • ...Prior research demonstrates that when the task is framed in a way that reduces the salience of memory, age-related differences are significantly reduced or even eliminated (e.g., Kausler, 1991; Mitchell & Perlmutter, 1986; Perlmutter & Mitchell, 1982; Rahhal, Hasher, & Colombe, 2001)....

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The results revealed that associative relationships that eliminated retroactive interference in the baseline condition also eliminated the directed forgetting costs and benefits, and it is proposed that these effects emerged from a combination of item and context strengthening induced by different associative directions.
Abstract: Two experiments examined how cross-list directional associations influenced list-method directed forgetting and the degree of interference observed on each list. Each List 1 item had a (a) bidirectionally related item on List 2 (chip potato), (b) forward association with an item on List 2 (chip --> wood), (c) backward association from an item on List 2 (chip <-- chisel), or (d) no relationship with List 2 items. The results revealed that associative relationships that eliminated retroactive interference in the baseline condition also eliminated the directed forgetting costs. In contrast, associative relationships did not affect List 2 recall in the forget group, which remained unchanged across experimental conditions. However, certain conditions reduced proactive interference in the remember group, thereby eliminating the benefits of directed forgetting. The directed forgetting costs and benefits were observed independently of each other. The authors propose that these effects emerged from a combination of item and context strengthening induced by different associative directions.

37 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Although enactment improved recall, the beneficial effects of enactment were the same for both age groups, and more than 80% of the age-related variance in memory for performed items was shared with memory for nonperformed items, suggesting that the 2 types of memory share many common processes.
Abstract: Memory for performed cognitive activities (e.g., psychometric tests of intelligence), for performed brief actions (e.g., hand wave), and for nonperformed items (e.g., written words) was assessed for 102 older and 101 younger adults. Although enactment improved recall, the beneficial effects of enactment were the same for both age groups. In fact, more than 80% of the age-related variance in memory for performed items was shared with memory for nonperformed items. Working memory and perceptual speed were important to the age differences in memory for both types of items. Performed and nonperformed items showed different serial position effects. However, the correlation between memory for the 2 types of items was high, especially for older adults, suggesting that the 2 types of memory share many common processes.

36 citations


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

  • ...Action phrases were chosen because they typically result in higher recall rates both for older and younger adults compared to isolated words (Earles, 1996)....

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BookDOI
17 Jun 2013
TL;DR: Myslobodsky, Mnemopoesis: Memories That Wish Themselves to Be Recalled? as discussed by the authors... and Nachson, Neuropsychology of Self-Deception: The Case of Prosopagnosia.
Abstract: Contents: I. Maltzman, Foreword. M.S. Myslobodsky, Living Behind a Facade: Notes on the Agenda. J. Agassi, Self-Deception: A View From the Rationalist Perspective. A.G. Greenwald, Self-Knowledge and Self-Deception: Further Consideration. D. Zakay, J. Bentwich, The Tricks and Traps of Perceptual Illusions. Y. Trope, B. Gervey, N. Liberman, Wishful Thinking From a Pragmatic Hypothesis-Testing Perspective. M.K. Johnson, Identifying the Origin of Mental Experience. M. Ross, T.K. MacDonald, How Can We Be Sure? Using Truth Criteria to Validate Memories. A. Rechtshaffen, The Single-Mindedness and Isolation of Dreams. H. Ben-Zur, S. Breznitz, Denial, Anxiety, and Information Processing. L.A. Wells, Imposture Syndromes: A Clinical View. I. Nachson, Neuropsychology of Self-Deception: The Case of Prosopagnosia. L. Hicks, M.S. Myslobodsky, Mnemopoesis: Memories That Wish Themselves to Be Recalled? M. Devor, Phantom Limb Phenomena and Their Neural Mechanism. M.S. Myslobodsky, Awareness Salvaged by Cunning: Rehabilitation by Deception in Audiovisual Neglect.

35 citations