Memory & Cognition

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 237-246

First online:

Intentional forgetting: Note-taking as a naturalistic example

  • Michelle EskrittAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Mount St. Vincent University Email author 
  • , Sierra MaAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Mount St. Vincent University

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In the present study, we examined whether note-taking as a memory aid may provide a naturalistic example of intentional forgetting. In the first experiment, participants played Concentration, a memory card game in which the identity and location of pairs of cards need to be remembered. Before the game started, half of the participants were allowed to study the cards, and the other half made notes that were then unexpectedly taken away. No significant differences emerged between the two groups for remembering identity information, but the study group remembered significantly more location information than did the note-taking group. In a second experiment, we examined whether note-takers would show signs of proactive interference while playing Concentration repeatedly. The results indicated that they did not. The findings suggest that participants adopted an intentional-forgetting strategy when using notes to store certain types of information.


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