Unblocking Memory through Directed Forgetting
journal contributionposted on 15.04.2014, 00:00 by Rebecca H. Koppel, Benjamin C. Storm
The ability to remember an item can be blocked, or negatively primed, by exposure to related items. For example, ALLERGY is less likely to be generated given the word fragment A_L_ _GY if one is first exposed to ANALOGY (Smith & Tindell, 1997). We examined whether this memory blocking effect is influenced by list-method directed forgetting. A total of 144 participants learned two lists of items, each consisting of words that were designed to negatively prime performance on a subsequent word fragment completion task. Participants who were told to forget List 1 before learning List 2 suffered significantly less memory blocking owing to the negative primes from List 1 than participants who were told to remember List 1. These results suggest that directed forgetting can modify the memory blocking effect by affecting the accessibility of information in memory.