Send to

Choose Destination
Can J Exp Psychol. 2012 Sep;66(3):204-11. doi: 10.1037/a0027277. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

Retrieval-induced forgetting: testing the competition assumption of inhibition theory.

Author information

Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario.


Practicing the retrieval of some information can lead to poorer retrieval of other related information, a phenomenon called retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF). This pattern has been explained as the result of inhibition of the related information during practice (Anderson, 2003). A core assumption of this inhibition account is that, to be suppressed, the related information must compete with the target information at the time of retrieval practice. Three experiments are reported that test this competition assumption. One experiment showed that RIF did not occur without specific retrieval practice of the target items when semantic generation of subordinates was performed. However, in 2 further experiments, RIF did occur when the semantic generation task was paired with category retrieval. Although there was no need for competition between target information and related information in these experiments, RIF was observed. These experiments undermine the competition assumption and hence the inhibition account.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center