Retrieval-induced forgetting in episodic memory

J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1999 Nov;25(6):1403-14. doi: 10.1037//0278-7393.25.6.1403.


Participants learned the locations of 12 stimuli that were uniquely colored but could be grouped by shape (4 circles, 4 triangles, 4 crosses). Following the study, a retrieval-practice phase required participants to recall the colors of a subset of the stimuli (i.e., 2 circles, 2 triangles) using shape and location as cues. In a final test, participants recalled the colors of all 12 stimuli. Compared with the control set of stimuli (i.e., 4 crosses), memory was facilitated for practiced items but impaired for related items, which were not practiced but shared the same shape group. Across experiments, retrieval-induced forgetting was observed for different perceptual groupings and for different cuing procedures. The effect, however, required retrieval of information during the interpolated phase. Providing extra presentations did not disrupt memory for related items.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Processes / physiology*