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Remembering Can Cause Forgetting – but Not in Negative Moods. Psychological Science – 2007 Karl-Heinz Bauml and Christof Kuhbandner Presented by Tachelle Nettles Fall 2010. Affective states – positive or negative emotions/moods

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remembering can cause forgetting but not in negative moods

Remembering Can Cause Forgetting – but Not in Negative Moods

Psychological Science – 2007

Karl-Heinz Bauml and Christof Kuhbandner

Presented by

Tachelle Nettles

Fall 2010

article definitions

Affective states – positive or negative emotions/moods

  • Retrieval induced forgetting – forgetting that is caused by the retrieval process itself
  • Item-specific processing–processing events by their details
  • Relational processing –processing events in relation to other concepts in memory
Article Definitions

Goal: To investigate how affective states might influence retrieval-induced forgetting

  • Question: Does the affective state experienced during retrieval influence forgetting independent of the contents to be retrieved?
prior findings

“Repeated retrieval of a subset of previously observed events can cause later forgetting of non-retrieved events”

  • Emotions can influence how info is processed
    • Positive emotions result in relational-processing
    • Negative emotions result in item-specific processing
Prior Findings

Mood may affect retrieval-induced forgetting

  • During retrieval of to-be-practiced items only related items should interfere and be inhibited to reduce interference
  • Positive and negative moods may have opposing effects on retrieval-induced forgetting: enhancing in one case and reducing in the other
summary of study

Volunteers asked to study episodic material

  • Immediately before retrieval a mood was induced and then volunteers were asked to retrieve a subset of the material
  • Researchers examined whether mood affected later recall of the nonretrieved material.
Summary of Study

6 Word Lists

    • Each contained items from 3 semantic categories
    • 6 emotionally neutral words
    • Initial letter of each word was unique
  • 10 Positive, 10 Negative, 10 Neutral pictures
    • People with diseases and mutilated bodies (negative)
    • Erotic Scenes and babies (positive)
    • Scenery and objects (neutral)
design continued 2 of 3

For each single list the experiment consisted of 4 main phases

    • Study Phase
    • Mood-Induction Phase
    • Retrieval-Practice Phase
    • Final Test Phase
  • For each of the 6 lists in the, subjects attempted to retrieve half of the items from 2 of 3 categories
Design Continued (2 of 3)
design continued 3 of 3

3 types of words created

    • Retrieval practiced (P+ words)
    • Unpracticed words belonging to same 2 categories as P+ words (P- words)
    • Unpracticed words from unpracticed category, serves as control words (C words)
Design Continued (3 of 3)
procedure 1 of 2

Study Phase

    • Each word on list displayed on computer screen for 5s with category name
    • Random sequence of 6 blocks
    • 30-s distracter task before next phase
  • Mood-Induction Phase
    • Subjects successively shown 5 pictures of the same valence and told to let it influence their emotional state (6-secs each)
Procedure (1 of 2)
procedure continued 2 of 2

Retrieval-Practice Phase

    • Word stem of P+ presented with category name and asked to complete with a studied word
    • Presented twice at 2.5 s per stem
    • Mood measured
    • 3-min distracter
  • Final Test Phase
    • Subjects given 1st letter of studied word with category and asked to name appropriate word Fruit: A____
    • 30 sec break between study phase of next list
Procedure Continued (2 of 2)

Manipulation Check

  • Retrieval-Practice Phase
  • Final Recall Test
manipulation check results

Across conditions, subjects varied reliably in mood

  • Arousal between positive and neutral conditions differed reliably from arousal in negative condition
Manipulation Check Results
final recall test results

Retrieval practice enhanced later recall of P+ words

  • In positive and neutral mood conditions performance was lower for the P- words than the C words
  • In the negative mood condition recall of P- words was slightly higher than recall of C words
  • Amount of forgetting differed reliably between the positive and negative mood conditions
Final Recall Test Results

Affect can influence retrieval-induced forgetting

  • When negative affect was experienced in retrieval-practice phase it did not cause forgetting of non-retrieved words from practice category
  • Reliable forgetting found in subjects who experienced positive and neutral moods
  • Results consistent with recent findings indicating that negative emotions induce predominately item-specific processing
discussion continued

Results show a tendency for more forgetting in the positive-mood than in the neutral-mood condition (not significant difference)

  • Results primarily demonstrate the influence of negative moods on retrieval-induced forgetting, indicating that a change from the (default) relational mode to an item-specific mode of retrieval can eliminate the forgetting.
  • Results suggest that mood may influence eyewitness testimony.
Discussion Continued
article citation

Kuhbandner, C. (2007). Remembering Can Cause Forgetting-but Not in Negative Moods. Psychological Science, 18(2), 111-115.

Article Citation