Testing the blocking and context change accounts of Retrieval-induced Forgetting using item recognition

Julia Rupprecht
2016
Retrieval-induced Forgetting (RIF) refers to the finding that practicing information by retrieval impairs recall for related, but not practiced information. The underlying processes of RIF have not been conclusively identified yet, but three theories have prevailed: The inhibition account attributes RIF to long-lasting inhibition of the unpracticed items in order to facilitate retrieval of the practiced items. The blocking account attributes RIF to the disproportionately stronger associations
more » ... the practiced items impeding recall of the unpracticed items during the final test. Therefore, equivalent effects of retrieval practice and other practice methods that enhance the associations adequately are predicted. The context change account attributes RIF to a contextual mismatch between study and test for the unpracticed items reducing the likelihood to recall those items as the act of retrieval during practice is supposed to accelerate context drift. Therefore, equivalent effects of retrieval and other practice methods that are preceded by a contextual change are predicted. Here, these equivalence assumptions fundamental to the blocking and the context change account were tested by varying the final test format. The blocking account predicts that if retrieval induces forgetting in a test, then restudy formats should induce forgetting in that test as well. Analogously, the context change account predicts that restudy preceded by context change should mimic the effects of retrieval practice irrespective of the test format. In six experiments, it was investigated whether restudy formats or restudy preceded by context change affect cued recall and item recognition similar to how retrieval practice does. The results showed that all forms of practice decreased recall of related, unpracticed items. In the recognition test, however, only retrieval but none of the other practice types induced forgetting. The finding conflicts with the equivalence assumptions fundamental to the blocking and the context change accounts, sugge [...]
doi:10.5283/epub.35001 fatcat:kqbj2mf72zbbfk44j25a2dku5i