Psychonomic Science

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 55–56 | Cite as

The modification of short-term memory through instructions to forget

  • Robert A. Bjork
  • David LaBerge
  • Ross Legrand
Human Learning and Thinking Memory


This study was designed to investigate whether Ss could reduce the proactive interference of a first verbal item (CCCC) if they were signalled just prior to the presentation of a second item that they could forget the first item. Recall of the second of two CCCC items inserted in a series of digits was better when Ss were told to “drop” the first item than when there was no such instruction, but it was not as good as recall when only one item was presented.


Retention Interval Proactive Interference Correct Recall Verbal Item Perfect Recall 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. BJORK, R. A. The effect of instructions to selectively forget during short-term memory, Memorandum Rep. No. 3, Human Performance Center, University of Michigan, 1967.Google Scholar
  2. LaBERGE, D., & WINOKUR, S. Short-term memory using a visual shadowing procedure. Psychon. Sci., 1965, 3, 239–240.Google Scholar
  3. WICKELGREN, W. Phonemic similarity and interference in short-term memory for single letters. J. exp. Psychol., 1966, 71, 396–404.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Journals 1968

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert A. Bjork
    • 1
  • David LaBerge
    • 2
  • Ross Legrand
    • 2
  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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