Intentional forgetting diminishes memory for continuous events

Jonathan M. Fawcett, Tracy L. Taylor, Lynn Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In a novel event method directed forgetting task, instructions to Remember (R) or Forget (F) were integrated throughout the presentation of four videos depicting common events (e.g., baking cookies). Participants responded more accurately to cued recall questions (E1) and true/false statements (E2-4) regarding R segments than F segments. This was true even when forced to attend to F segments by virtue of having to perform concurrent discrimination (E2) or conceptual segmentation (E3) tasks. The final experiment (E5) demonstrated a larger R >F difference for specific true/false statements (the woman added three cups of flour) than for general true/false statements (the woman added flour) suggesting that participants likely encoded and retained at least a general representation of the events they had intended to forget, even though this representation was not as specific as the representation of events they had intended to remember.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-694
Number of pages20
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Cognition
  • Events
  • Intentional forgetting
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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