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Mem Cognit. 2006 Jan;34(1):102-11.

A strategy disruption component to retrieval-induced forgetting.

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  • 1University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Retrieval-induced forgetting refers to a paradoxical occurrence wherein the act of remembering some material disrupts the retrieval of other, related material (see, e.g., M. C. Anderson, R. A. Bjork, & E. L. Bjork, 1994). This effect is generally accounted for in terms of inhibitory processes. Across three experiments, we test the inhibitory account of retrieval-induced forgetting, as well as whether there may be a strategy disruption component to the effect. In our first two experiments, we manipulate which items individuals are cued to recall during retrieval practice and demonstrate that retrieval-induced forgetting can be neutralized when those items do not interfere with the individual's retrieval strategy. In the third experiment, we confirm this finding with a different set of stimuli. These results are inconsistent with a purely inhibitory account of retrieval-induced forgetting, and we discuss implications for inhibition theory and strategy disruption in light of these and other findings.

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