Retrieval-Induced Forgetting in the Real World – Work published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

Researchers at the University of Essex have recently had their work accepted in the prestigious Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. This paper examines the contention that an end-of-day review could lead to augmentation in human memory and includes six Experiments.

In Experiment 1, participants were taken on a campus tour and shown a number of different to-be-remembered objects in different university locations (e.g. a printer in the Library). Each to-be-remembered object was presented with an associated specific comment (e.g. “This is the most used printer in the Library”). Participants were then shown the location name and photographs of half of the objects from half of the locations, and they were asked to try to name the object and recall the associated comment specific to each item. Following a filled delay, participants were presented with the name of each campus location and were asked to free recall the to-be-remembered objects. Relative to the recall from the unpracticed location categories, participants recalled the names of significantly more objects that they practiced (retrieval practice) and significantly fewer unpracticed objects from the practiced locations (retrieval-induced forgetting, RIF). These findings were replicated in Experiment 2 using a campus scavenger hunt in which participants selected their own stimuli from specified experimenter’s categories (e.g. Find 6 edible things, 6 orange things, etc.). Following an examination of factors that maximized the effects of RIF and retrieval practice in the laboratory (Experiment 3), we applied these findings to the campus scavenger hunt task to create different retrieval practice schedules to maximize and minimize recall of items based on experimenter-selected (Experiment 4) and participant-selected items using both category-cued free recall (Experiment 5) and item-specific cues (Experiment 6). The paper supports the claim that an interactive, end-of-day review could lead toaugmentation in human memory.

This work will also be presented by Prof. Geoff Ward in a Keynote speech given in June,2018, as part of the Summer School of the Swiss Graduate School for Cognition, Learning and Memory entitled: ‘Perspective on human Memory: Memory functioning and memory failures’.

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