Retrieval-Induced Forgetting in Repressors, Defensive High Anxious, High Anxious and Low Anxious Individuals

Jo Saunders, Rhian Worth, Smriti Vallath, Marcelle Fernandes
2014 Journal of Experimental Psychopathology  
Previous research has indicated that repressors forget more negative memories which may be due to enhanced inhibitory abilities. To investigate this issue the retrieval practice paradigm was modified for use with neutral and negative personality traits. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants chose neutral and negative traits which were self descriptive and then performed retrieval practice on the neutral traits. Repressors and low anxious participants were found to demonstrate forgetting of
more » ... forgetting of negative traits with repressors forgetting more negative traits than low anxious participants. In Experiment 2 the inhibitory account was tested by comparing retrieval practice with re-presentation. Retrieval practice led to forgetting but re-presentation did not. In Experiment 3 forgetting of neutral traits was evident in the repressors and low anxious groups but repressors did not exhibit increased forgetting. In Experiment 4 the cue independent method was used to examine inhibition for neutral material. All groups demonstrated forgetting but repressors did not demonstrate enhanced inhibition. These findings indicate that repressors demonstrate enhanced forgetting only for self referential negative information. Word count: 169 3 During the course of our lives we are confronted by traumatic events and threats to our sense of self. It is becoming increasingly clear that different individuals react to such threats in different ways with some individuals showing high levels of resilience, moving on from the threat relatively quickly and with no apparent disruption to their life, while others exhibit signs of distress and depression and find it difficult to function on a day to day basis. On the other hand, others suffer for a brief period of time while some suffer for more protracted periods of time or more intensely (Bonanno, 2004 (Bonanno, , 2005 . One such coping strategy for dealing with personal threats is repressive coping.
doi:10.5127/jep.036213 fatcat:vwbtuqwxenhijol5x7ufvml5ba