‘Forget me (not)?’ – Remembering Forget-Items Versus Un-Cued Items in Directed Forgetting

Zwissler B, Schindler S, Fischer H, Plewnia C, Kißler J (2015)
Frontiers in Psychology 6: 1741.

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Abstract
Humans need to be able to selectively control their memories. This capability is often investigated in directed forgetting (DF) paradigms. In item-method DF, individual items are presented and each is followed by either a forget- or remember-instruction. On a surprise test of all items, memory is then worse for to-be-forgotten items (TBF) compared to to-be-remembered items (TBR). This is thought to result mainly from selective rehearsal of TBR, although inhibitory mechanisms also appear to be recruited by this paradigm. Here, we investigate whether the mnemonic consequences of a forget instruction differ from the ones of incidental encoding, where items are presented without a specific memory instruction. Four experiments were conducted where un-cued items (UI) were interspersed and recognition performance was compared between TBR, TBF, and UI stimuli. Accuracy was encouraged via a performance-dependent monetary bonus. Experiments varied the number of items and their presentation speed and used either letter-cues or symbolic cues. Across all experiments, including perceptually fully counterbalanced variants, memory accuracy for TBF was reduced compared to TBR, but better than for UI. Moreover, participants made consistently fewer false alarms and used a very conservative response criterion when responding to TBF stimuli. Thus, the F-cue results in active processing and reduces false alarm rate, but this does not impair recognition memory beyond an un-cued baseline condition, where only incidental encoding occurs. Theoretical implications of these findings are discussed.
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Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
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Zwissler B, Schindler S, Fischer H, Plewnia C, Kißler J. ‘Forget me (not)?’ – Remembering Forget-Items Versus Un-Cued Items in Directed Forgetting. Frontiers in Psychology. 2015;6: 1741.
Zwissler, B., Schindler, S., Fischer, H., Plewnia, C., & Kißler, J. (2015). ‘Forget me (not)?’ – Remembering Forget-Items Versus Un-Cued Items in Directed Forgetting. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1741. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01741
Zwissler, B., Schindler, S., Fischer, H., Plewnia, C., and Kißler, J. (2015). ‘Forget me (not)?’ – Remembering Forget-Items Versus Un-Cued Items in Directed Forgetting. Frontiers in Psychology 6:1741.
Zwissler, B., et al., 2015. ‘Forget me (not)?’ – Remembering Forget-Items Versus Un-Cued Items in Directed Forgetting. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1741.
B. Zwissler, et al., “‘Forget me (not)?’ – Remembering Forget-Items Versus Un-Cued Items in Directed Forgetting”, Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 6, 2015, : 1741.
Zwissler, B., Schindler, S., Fischer, H., Plewnia, C., Kißler, J.: ‘Forget me (not)?’ – Remembering Forget-Items Versus Un-Cued Items in Directed Forgetting. Frontiers in Psychology. 6, : 1741 (2015).
Zwissler, Bastian, Schindler, Sebastian, Fischer, Helena, Plewnia, Christian, and Kißler, Johanna. “‘Forget me (not)?’ – Remembering Forget-Items Versus Un-Cued Items in Directed Forgetting”. Frontiers in Psychology 6 (2015): 1741.
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