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Integration as a general boundary condition on retrieval-induced forgetting

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date05/1999
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Journal number3
Volume25
Number of pages22
Pages608-629
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

When people form connections between several memories that share a common retrieval cue, the tendency for those memories to interfere with one another during later retrieval attempts is often eliminated. Three experiments examined whether forming such connections might also protect memories from retrieval-induced forgetting, the phenomenon in which retrieving some associates of a cue leads to the suppression of others that interfere during retrieval (M. C. Anderson, E. L. Bjork, & R. A. Bjork, 1994). All 3 experiments found that instructing subjects to interrelate category exemplars during an initial study phase reduced retrieval-induced forgetting. Postexperimental questionnaires indicated that even when people were not instructed to interrelate exemplars, they often did so spontaneously and that this spontaneous integration also protected people from impairment. These findings, together with others obtained in different experimental settings, suggest that complex knowledge structures composed of highly interconnected components may be especially resistant to retrieval-induced forgetting.