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  • Writer's pictureDillon Murphy

Survival Processing and Directed Forgetting

Updated: Sep 19, 2023


Memory_Murphy, 2023
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Survival Processing and Directed Forgetting: Enhanced Memory for Both To-Be-Remembered and To-Be-Forgotten Information

Dillon H. Murphy


In a recently published study, Parker et al. (2021) examined directed forgetting in a survival processing context using the list-method directed forgetting procedure. Parker et al. (2021) found that the costs of directed forgetting were greater when engaging in survival processing than when making moving relevance or pleasantness ratings. However, according to most current accounts of directed forgetting, engaging in survival processing should not have enhanced the directed forgetting effect but rather should not have impacted the directed forgetting effect. In the present study, we further investigated how survival processing impacts directed forgetting using both the list (Experiment 1) and item method of directed forgetting (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, we did not replicate the findings of Parker et al. (2021)—that the directed forgetting effect is enhanced when engaging in survival processing. Rather, we demonstrated that making survival ratings and moving ratings yielded a similar cost of directed forgetting for List 1 items. In Experiment 2, survival processing provided an overall memory benefit (but not when recalling to-be-remembered and to-be-forgotten items in separate recall tests) but did not differentially impact to-be-remembered and to-be-forgotten words. Thus, we did not find evidence that survival processing influences directed forgetting.

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