Forgetting in context: The effects of age, emotion, and social factors on retrieval-induced forgetting.

06:00 EDT 29th March 2012 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Forgetting in context: The effects of age, emotion, and social factors on retrieval-induced forgetting."

Retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) refers to the finding that selectively retrieving some information impairs subsequent memory for related but nonretrieved information. This occurs both for the individual doing the remembering (i.e., within-individual retrieval-induced forgetting: WI-RIF), as well as for individuals merely listening to those recollections (i.e., socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting: SS-RIF). In the present study, we examined how the contextual factors of age and emotion independently and interactively affect both WI-RIF and SS-RIF. The results indicated that both WI-RIF and SS-RIF occurred at equivalent levels, both for younger and older adults and for neutral and emotional information. However, we identified a boundary condition to this effect: People only exhibited SS-RIF when the speaker that they were listening to was of the same sex as themselves. Given that participants reported feeling closer to same-sex speakers, this suggests that people co-retrieve more, and therefore exhibit increased SS-RIF, with close others. In everyday life, these RIF effects should influence what information is remembered versus forgotten in individual and collective memories.


Davis School of Gerontology, University of Southern California, 3715 McClintock Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90089-0191, USA,

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Memory & cognition
ISSN: 1532-5946


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