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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
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01 Jan 1996

463 citations

Book ChapterDOI
01 Jan 1996-Memory
TL;DR: This chapter illustrates how forgetting might be linked to inhibitory processes underlying selective attention, according to a new perspective that builds upon insights from modern work, while validating intuitions underlying several of the classical interference mechanisms.
Abstract: Publisher Summary This chapter discusses the causes of memory interference and the extent of situations in which these mechanisms operate. First, the chapter discusses some widely held assumptions about the situation of interference, focusing on the idea that such effects arise from competition for access via a shared retrieval cue. This notion is sufficiently general that it may be applied in a variety of interference settings, which is illustrated briefly. Then the classical interference paradigms from which these ideas emerged are reviewed. The chapter also reviews more recent phenomena that both support and challenge classical conceptions of interference. These phenomena provide compelling illustrations of the generality of interference and, consequently, of the importance of understanding its mechanisms. A recent perspective on interference is highlighted that builds upon insights from modern work, while validating intuitions underlying several of the classical interference mechanisms. According to this new perspective, forgetting derives not from acquiring new memories per se, but from the impact of later retrievals of the newly learned material. After discussing findings from several paradigms that support this retrieval-based view, the chapter illustrates how forgetting might be linked to inhibitory processes underlying selective attention.

449 citations


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

  • ...Findings from cued recall (e.g., using A-B, A-B paradigm; for reviews, see Anderson & Neely, 1996) and free-recall studies (Sahakyan & Goodmon, 2007) indicate that semantic relationships between lists drastically reduce interference compared to unrelated lists....

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Book
01 Jan 1987
Abstract: THINKING Young children understand the relation between objects and events in a functional manner, such that the first object is seen to go with or to operate on the second object. Complementarity criteria are an integral component of their thinking. Older children and young adults, by contrast, tend to use similarity criteria. In old age, however, the use of complementarity criteria has been found to increase once again (Reese & Rodeheaver, 1985). The reversal to complementarity in old age is thought to be caused by environmental factors rather than being attributable to changes in competence. Young children as well as the elderly are rarely required to state their thoughts in a specifically prescribed way, and complementary categorization therefore seems more natural, since such categorization groups occur naturally in time and space. Older adults do not neces-

392 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A variety of findings indicated that this age group is less able than younger adults to suppress the processing and retrieval of items designated as to be forgotten (TBF).
Abstract: Younger and older adults were compared in 4 directed forgetting experiments. These varied in the use of categorized versus unrelated word lists and in the use of item by item versus blocked remember-forget cueing procedures. Consistent with L. Hasher and R. T. Zacks's (1988) hypothesis of impaired inhibitory mechanisms in older adults, a variety of findings indicated that this age group is less able than yoimger adults to suppress the processing and retrieval of items designated as to be forgotten (TBF). Specifically, in comparison with younger adults, older adults produced more TBF word intrusions on an immediate recall test (Experiments 1A and 1B), took longer to reject TBF items (relative to a neutral baseline) on an immediate recognition test (Experiment 3), and recalled (Experiments 1A, 1B, and 2) and recognized (Experiments 1B and 2) relatively more TBF items on delayed retention tests in which all studied items were designated as targets. In this article, we present four experiments comparing the performance of younger and older adults on directed forgetting tasks. In this type of task (e.g., see Bjork, 1989), participants are presented items to study, some of which they are told to remember and others of which they are told to forget. Because the cueing as to which items are to be remembered (TBR items) and which are to be forgotten (TBF items) occurs after the items have been presented for study, participants must pay some attention to each item as it is presented. Thus, the directed forgetting paradigm investigates the ability to forget some inputs that one has recently attended to while at the same time remembering others presented in the same context and near the same time. To the degree that one is successful at this task, as younger adults generally are, the following trends are seen: The presence of TBF items on a list does not reduce recall or recognition of TBR items; there are few intrusions of TBF items when participants are asked to report only TBR items; and performance on TBF items is relatively poor when, on a later retention test, participants are asked to report TBF as well as TBR items.

381 citations


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

  • ...…design, both Zellner and Bäuml (2006) and Sego, Golding, and Gottlob (2006) obtained significant directed forgetting with older adults, whereas Zacks, Radvansky, and Hasher (1996) reported nonsignificant directed forgetting using a partial design (only the forget group) and some variations…...

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  • ...Although Zacks et al. (1996) interpreted their nonsignificant directed forgetting findings to be consistent with the impaired inhibitory view of aging, later studies obtained significant directed forgetting, implying that either retrieval inhibition is spared in older adults (see also Aslan,…...

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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Using Schmidt and Boland's (1986) method, college student informants sorted a trait set into 1 or more groups with reference to elderly or young adults confirmed the existence of multiple stereotypes of both age groups but showed little similarity between stereotypes of the elderly and the young.
Abstract: Following Schmidt and Boland's (1986) method, college student informants sorted a trait set into 1 or more groups with reference to elderly or young adults. Analysis of these data confirmed the existence of multiple stereotypes of both age groups but showed little similarity between stereotypes of the elderly and the young. Other informants made attitude, age, and typicality judgements of persons representing either the elderly or young adult stereotypes. Results showed that attitudes varied with the stereotype activated and were similar for analogous elderly and young adult stereotypes. Results also suggested that young adults do not view negative stereotypes as more typical of the elderly than positive ones; however, they believe the negative stereotypes are more characteristic of the old-old than are the positive and see positive stereotypes as more typical of young adults than negative ones.

378 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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  • ...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…...

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