- Is forgetting caused by inhibition?
- Current Directions in Psychological Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 22 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
A well-known finding in memory research is the forgetting effect that occurs because of practicing some Item A on the recall of a related Item B. The traditional explanation for such interference effects is based on the notion of competition. According to the inhibition theory of forgetting, however, such forgetting is due to an inhibitory control process that operates whenever the retrieval of specific target information is hindered by competition from related information. The suppression of the related information is a longer lasting phenomenon that may show up on later testing. We report several experiments that were carried out to test 2 fundamental assumptions of the inhibition theory: the interference dependence and retrieval specificity assumptions. The results of these experiments do not support the predictions of the inhibition theory. Instead, the results are more compatible with the standard account that attributes the forgetting to competition at the time of the later testing.
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