Memory & Cognition

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 237–246 | Cite as

Intentional forgetting: Note-taking as a naturalistic example

  • Michelle EskrittEmail author
  • Sierra Ma


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.


Directed forgetting Memory Mnemonics 


Author note

We are grateful to Jonathan Eskritt for providing the program for the computer simulation that was described in Experiment 2. Thank you, little brother! The data from the first experiment were collected as part of the honors thesis of the second author.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMount St. Vincent UniversityHalifaxCanada

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