Directed forgetting in direct and indirect tests of memory: Seeking evidence of retrieval inhibition using electrophysiological measures
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We investigated whether directed forgetting as elicited by the item-cueing method results solely from differential rehearsal of to-be-remembered vs. to-be-forgotten words or, additionally, from inhibitory processes that actively impair retrieval of to-be-forgotten words. During study, participants (N = 24) were instructed to remember half a series of presented words (TBR) and to forget the other half (TBF), as indicated by an instruction cue shown shortly after each word. During test, accuracy and reaction time measures from lexical decisions (indirect memory test) followed by recognition-memory judgements (direct memory test) were supplemented with event-related potential (ERP) recordings. Results from the behavioural measures revealed directed forgetting in the recognition-memory test but not the lexical-decision test. ERPs obtained during recognition indicated that TBR words elicited a larger parietal old/new effect than TBF words overall, suggesting that remember/forget instructions impaired conscious recollection processes more severely than familiarity processes. Moreover, TBF words that were successfully forgotten elicited less parietal activity than correctly rejected new words (the reversed old/new effect; Nowicka, A., Jednor㲯g, K., Wypych, M., & Marchewka, A. (2009). Reversed old/new effect for intentionally forgotten words: An ERP study of directed forgetting. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 71, 97- 102). This was taken to implicate that inhibitory processes likely affected these items. Enhanced negativities for successfully forgotten TBF words relative to new words were observed in the lexical-decision task at early (150-250 ms) and late (800-1000 ms) time windows, suggesting that inhibitory influences disrupt more than just conscious recollection when memory retrieval is tested indirectly.
Brain and Cognition
Biological Psychology (Neuropsychology, Psychopharmacology, Physiological Psychology)