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Psychon Bull Rev. 2002 Sep;9(3):611-4.

I was always on my mind: the self and temporary forgetting.

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  • 1Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 03755, USA.


Previous research has demonstrated that the act of remembering can prompt the temporary suppression of related items in memory-that is, retrieval-induced forgetting (Anderson, Bjork, & Bjork, 1994). In extending work of this kind, the present research sought to identify some important boundary conditions of this effect. As expected, temporary forgetting was eliminated under task conditions that elicited distinctive encoding operations-specifically, when material was relevant to the self. This result is noteworthy since it identifies spontaneous processing operations that protect information from temporary forgetting, a finding that has important implications both for the emergence of this inhibitory effect in everyday life and for theoretical treatments of memory function.

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