The effects of context in item-based directed forgetting: Evidence for “one-shot” context storage

Hourihan, Kathleen L. and Burgess, Nicole and Hockley, William E. (2017) The effects of context in item-based directed forgetting: Evidence for “one-shot” context storage. Memory & Cognition, 45 (5). pp. 745-754. ISSN 1532-5946

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The effects of context on item-based directed forgetting were assessed. Study words were presented against different background pictures and were followed by a cue to remember (R) or forget (F) the target item. The effects of incidental and intentional encoding of context on recognition of the study words were examined in Experiments 1 and 2. Recognition memory for the picture contexts was assessed in Experiments 3a and 3b. Recognition was greater for R-cued compared to F-cued targets, demonstrating an effect of directed forgetting. In contrast, no directed forgetting effect was seen for the background pictures. An effect of context-dependent recognition was seen in Experiments 1 and 2, such that the hit rate and the false-alarm rate were greater for items tested in an old compared to a novel context. An effect of context-dependent discrimination was also observed in Experiment 2 as the hit rate was greater for targets shown in their same old study context compared to a different old context. The effects of context and directed forgetting did not interact. The results are consistent with Malmberg and Shiffrin’s (Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31, 322–336, 2005) “one-shot” context storage hypothesis that assumes that a fixed amount of context is stored in the first 1 to 2 s of the presentation of the study item. The effects of context are independent of item-based directed forgetting because context is encoded prior to the R or F cue, and the differential processing of target information that gives rise to the directed forgetting effect occurs after the cue.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 15530
Keywords: context dependent recognition, context dependent discrimination, directed forgetting effect, picture recognition
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Psychology
Science, Faculty of > Psychology
Date: 6 February 2017
Date Type: Publication
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
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