Remembering can cause forgetting: Retrieval dynamics in long-term memory

Michael C. Anderson, Robert A. Bjork, Elizabeth L. Bjork
1994 Journal of Experimental Psychology. Learning, Memory and Cognition  
Three studies show that the retrieval process itself causes long-lasting forgetting. Ss studied 8 categories (e.g., Fruit). Half the members of half the categories were then repeatedly practiced through retrieval tests (e.g., Fruit Or ). Category-cued recall of unpracticed members of practiced categories was impaired on a delayed test. Experiments 2 and 3 identified 2 significant features of this retrieval-induced forgetting: The impairment remains when output interference is controlled,
more » ... controlled, suggesting a retrieval-based suppression that endures for 20 min or more, and the impairment appears restricted to high-frequency members. Low-frequency members show little impairment, even in the presence of strong, practiced competitors that might be expected to block access to those items. These findings suggest a critical role for suppression in models of retrieval inhibition and implicate the retrieval process itself in everyday forgetting.
doi:10.1037//0278-7393.20.5.1063 pmid:7931095 fatcat:2h6sqc6kkvcq3h4j6qtpgam5he