Retrieval-induced forgetting and unwanted thought intrusions

Groome, D.H., Thorne, J.D., Grant, N. and Pipilis, Y.J. 2008. Retrieval-induced forgetting and unwanted thought intrusions. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology. 20 (4), pp. 723-737.

TitleRetrieval-induced forgetting and unwanted thought intrusions
AuthorsGroome, D.H., Thorne, J.D., Grant, N. and Pipilis, Y.J.
Abstract

The act of retrieving an existing memory has been found to inhibit the recall of related memories, a phenomenon known as retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF). The purpose of the present study was to investigate the hypothesis that individuals with a strong RIF effect might be better at suppressing unwanted intrusive thoughts. In Experiment 1 the relationship between RIF and the prevalence of intrusive thoughts was investigated using a sample of 58 normal British participants, who completed three different questionnaires to measure their susceptibility to intrusive thoughts, obsessional thoughts, and impulsive thoughts. Their susceptibility to RIF was also measured, using the standard procedure introduced by Anderson, Bjork, and Bjork (1994). The results showed a significant RIF effect, and, although no significant correlations were found between RIF strength and any of the three measures of intrusive thoughts, there was some evidence to suggest a possible relationship between RIF and intrusive thoughts. In an effort to clarify these inconclusive findings, Experiment 2 investigated the relationship between RIF and intrusive thoughts in a different and more varied population sample, consisting of 90 normal members of the Greek population. Experiment 2 confirmed the RIF effect, but no significant association was found between RIF and intrusive thoughts. These findings therefore offer no support for the hypothesis that RIF assists the suppression of intrusive thoughts in normal individuals.

JournalEuropean Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Journal citation20 (4), pp. 723-737
ISSN0954-1446
YearJul 2008
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/09541440701811965
Publication dates
PublishedJul 2008

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