, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 484-489

Intentional forgetting benefits from thought substitution

Abstract

This study provides both experimental and correlational evidence that forgetting in the think/no-think paradigm (Anderson & Green, 2001) is sensitive to the substitution of thoughts about new events for thoughts that are to be suppressed. All the participants learned a list of adjective-noun pairs. Then the adjectives were presented as cues for recalling half of the nouns and as cues for suppressing the other half, 0, 2, or 12 times.Aided participants were provided with substitute nouns, to use during suppression. On a final test that requested recall of all initially learned nouns, aided participants showed evidence of below-baseline forgetting of suppressed nouns.Unaided participants produced below-baseline forgetting only if their later self-reports indicated that they had complied relatively well with instructions for suppression. Independently, forgetting in the unaided condition was more successful when the participants reportedly thought about something else during suppression trials. In general, the use of selfinitiated strategiesseems to affect the degree of forgetting in the think/no-think paradigm.