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Anticipation boosts forgetting of voluntarily suppressed memories.

Authors
  • 1
  • 1 Department of Experimental Psychology, Regensburg University, Germany. [email protected] , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Memory (Hove, England)
1464-0686
Publication Date
Volume
18
Issue
3
Pages
252–257
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/09658210903476548
PMID: 20063254
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

The role of anticipatory mechanisms in human memory control is poorly understood. Addressing the issue we investigated whether the presence of an anticipatory phase can enhance effects of cognitive control, as they occur during voluntary suppression of episodic memories. Using the Think/No-Think task, participants first learned several face-word associations, and thereafter were asked to either recall (think) or suppress (no-think) the word when provided with the word's face cue. In the one condition participants performed the Think/No-Think task in the presence of an anticipatory phase, giving participants the chance to prepare for memory suppression. In the other condition participants performed the task without such an anticipatory phase. On the final cued recall test participants were asked to recall all of the previously studied words. The results showed stronger forgetting of to-be-suppressed items in the presence than absence of the anticipatory phase. The finding is first evidence for the effectiveness of anticipatory mechanisms in human memory suppression.

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