Tim Brunson DCH

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Silence is not golden: a case for socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting.

The present research explored the effect of selective remembering and the resulting "silences" on memory. In particular, we examined whether unmentioned information is more likely to be forgotten by a listener if related information is recollected by the speaker than if related information is not recollected by the speaker. In a modification of the retrieval-induced forgetting paradigm, pairs of individuals studied material, but in the practice phase, only one member of each pair selectively recalled it, while the other listened. Experiment 1 employed paired associates, and Experiment 2 used stories. Experiment 3 involved not controlled practice, but free-flowing conversation. In each case, results from a final memory test established not only within-individual retrieval-induced forgetting, but also socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting. The results demonstrate that listening to a speaker remember selectively can induce forgetting of related information in the listener.

Psychol Sci. 2007 Aug;18(8):727-33. Cuc A, Koppel J, Hirst W. Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale-Davie, FL 33314, USA. calex@nova.edu

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