- Retrieval-induced forgetting without competition: testing the retrieval specificity assumption of the inhibition theory
- Memory & Cognition
- Volume | Issue number
- 40 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
According to the inhibition theory of forgetting (Anderson, Journal of Memory and Language 49:415-445, 2003; Anderson, Bjork, & Bjork, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 7:522-530, 2000), retrieval practice on a subset of target items leads to forgetting for the other, nontarget items, due to the fact that these other items interfere during the retrieval process and have to be inhibited in order to resolve the interference. In this account, retrieval-induced forgetting occurs only when competition takes place between target and nontarget items during target item practice, since only in such a case is inhibition of the nontarget items necessary. Strengthening of the target item without active retrieval should not lead to such an impairment. In two experiments, we investigated this assumption by using noncompetitive retrieval during the practice phase. We strengthened the cue-target item association during practice by recall of the category name instead of the target item, and thus eliminated competition between the different item types (as in Anderson et al., Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 7:522-530 2000). In contrast to the expectations of the inhibition theory, retrieval-induced forgetting occurred even without competition, and thus the present study does not support the retrieval specificity assumption.
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