Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 636–642 | Cite as

Feedback increases benefits but not costs of retrieval practice: Retrieval-induced forgetting is strength independent

  • Tobias Tempel
  • Christian Frings
Brief Report


We examined how the provision of feedback affected two separate effects of retrieval practice: strengthening of practiced information and forgetting of related, unpracticed information. Feedback substantially increased recall of retrieval-practiced items. This unsurprising result shows once again that restudy opportunities boost the benefits of testing. In contrast, retrieval-induced forgetting was unaffected by the manipulation and occurred in equal size with or without feedback. These findings demonstrate strength independence of retrieval-induced forgetting and thus support a theoretical account assuming that an inhibitory mechanism causes retrieval-induced forgetting. According to this theory, inhibition resolves competition that arises during retrieval attempts but is unrelated to the consequences of retrieval practice concerning practiced items. The present results match these assumptions and contradict the theoretical alternative that blocking by strengthened information might explain retrieval-induced forgetting. We discuss our findings against the background of previous studies.


Inhibition in memory Blocking Forgetting Testing effect 



This research was supported by Grant TE 891/3-3 of the German Research Council (DFG).


  1. Allen, G. A., Mahler, W. A., & Estes, W. K. (1969). Effects of recall tests on long-term retention of paired associates. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 8(4), 463–470. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, M. C. (2003). Rethinking interference theory: Executive control and the mechanisms of forgetting. Journal of Memory and Language, 49, 415–445. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Anderson, M. C., & Bell, T. (2001). Forgetting our facts: The role of inhibitory processes in the loss of propositional knowledge. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 130, 544–570. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Anderson, M. C., Bjork, R. A., & Bjork, E. L. (1994). Remembering can cause forgetting: Retrieval dynamics in long-term memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20, 1063–1087. doi: PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Anderson, M. C., Bjork, R. A., & Bjork, E. L. (2000). Retrieval-induced forgetting: Evidence for a recall-specific mechanism. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 7, 522–530. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Anderson, M. C., & Spellman, B. A. (1995). On the status of inhibitory mechanisms in cognition: Memory retrieval as a model case. Psychological Review, 102, 68–100. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Arnold, K. M., & McDermott, K. B. (2013). Test-potentiated learning: Distinguishing between direct and indirect effects of tests. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 940–945. doi: PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bjork, R. A. (1975). Retrieval as a memory modifier. In R. L. Solso (Ed.), Information processing and cognition: The Loyola symposium (pp. 123–144). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  9. Carroll, M., Campbell-Ratcliffe, J., Murnane, H., & Perfect, T. (2007). Retrieval-induced forgetting in educational contexts: Monitoring, expertise, text integration, and test format. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 19, 580–606. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Chan, C. K., Erdman, M. R., & Davis, S. D. (2015). Retrieval induces forgetting, but only when nontested items compete for retrieval: Implication for interference, inhibition, and context reinstatement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 41, 1298–1315. doi: PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Ciranni, M. A., Shimamura, A. P. (1999). Retrieval-induced forgetting in episodic memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 25(6), 1403–1414PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Erdman, M. R., & Chan, J. C. K. (2013). Providing corrective feedback during retrieval practice does not increase retrieval-induced forgetting. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25, 692–703. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hanslmayr, S., Staudigl, T., Aslan, A., & Bauml, K.-H. (2010). Theta oscillations predict the detrimental effects of memory retrieval. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 10, 329–338. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hulbert, J. C., Shivde, G., & Anderson, M. C. (2012). Evidence against associative blocking as a cause of cue-independent retrieval-induced forgetting. Experimental Psychology, 59, 11–21. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Irtel, H. (2007). PXLab: The Psychological Experiments Laboratory [Online] (Version 2.1.11) [Computer software]. Mannheim, Germany: University of Mannheim. Available from
  16. Izawa, C. (1966). Reinforcement-test sequences in paired-associate learning. Psychological Reports, 18, 879–919. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Koutstaal, W., Schacter, D. L., Johnson, M. K., Galluccio, L. (1999). Facilitation and impairment of event memory produced by photograph review. Memory & Cognition, 27(3), 478–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Murayama, K., Miyatsu, T., Buchli, D., & Storm, B. C. (2014). Forgetting as a consequence of retrieval: A meta-analytic review of retrieval-induced forgetting. Psychological Bulletin, 140, 1383–1409. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Raaijmakers, J. G. W. (2016). On testing the strength independence assumption in retrieval-induced forgetting. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 23, 1374–1381. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Raaijmakers, J. G. W., & Jakab, E. (2013). Rethinking inhibition theory: On the problematic status of the inhibition theory for forgetting. Journal of Memory and Language, 68, 98–122. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Reppa, I., Worth, E. R., Greville, W. J., & Saunders, J. (2013). The representation of response effector and response location in episodic memory for newly acquired actions: Evidence from retrieval-induced forgetting. Acta Psychologica, 143, 210–217. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Roediger, H. L., III, & Karpicke, J. D. (2006). Test-enhanced learning: Taking memory tests improves long-term retention. Psychological Science, 17(3), 249–255. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Roediger, H. L., III, & Schmidt, S. R. (1980). Output interference in the recall of categorized and paired associate lists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 6, 91–105. doi: Google Scholar
  24. Shaw, J. S., Bjork, R. A., Handal, A. (1995). Retrieval-induced forgetting in an eyewitness-memory paradigm. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 2(2), 249–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Staudigl, T., Hanslmayr, S., & Bauml, K.-H. (2010). Theta oscillations reflect the dynamics of interference in episodic memory retrieval. Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 11356–11362. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Storm, B. C., Bjork, E. L., Bjork, R. A., & Nestojko, J. F. (2006). Is retrieval success a necessary condition for retrieval-induced forgetting? Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 13, 1023–1027. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Storm, B. C., & Levy (2012). A progress report on the inhibitory account of retrieval-induced forgetting. Memory and Cognition, 40, 827–843. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Storm, B. C., & Nestojko, J. F. (2010). Successful inhibition, unsuccessful retrieval: Manipulating time and success during retrieval practice. Memory, 18, 99–114. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Tempel, T., Aslan, A., & Frings, C. (2016). Competition dependence of retrieval-induced forgetting in motor memory. Memory & Cognition, 44, 671–680. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Tempel, T., & Frings, C. (2013). Resolving interference between body movements: Retrieval-induced forgetting of motor sequences. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 1152–1161. doi: PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Tempel, T., & Frings, C. (2014a). Forgetting motor programmes: Retrieval dynamics in procedural memory. Memory, 22, 1116–1125. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Tempel, T., & Frings, C. (2014b). Interference within hands: Retrieval-induced forgetting of left and right hand movements. Acta Psychologica, 148, 1–5. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Tempel, T., & Frings, C. (2015). Categorization by movement direction: Retrieval-induced forgetting of motor sequences grouped by motion features. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 68, 473–486. doi: CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tempel, T., & Frings, C. (2016). How motor practice shapes memory: Retrieval but not extra study can cause forgetting. Memory, 24, 903–915. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Tempel, T., & Frings, C. (2017). Retrieval-induced forgetting is retrieval-modality specific: Evidence from motor memory. Cognition, 162, 143–152CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Tempel, T., & Kubik, V. (2017). Test-potentiated learning of motor sequences. Memory, 25, 326–334. doi: CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Tempel, T., Loran, I., & Frings, C. (2015). Dancing your moves away: How memory retrieval shapes complex motor action. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 21, 300–312. doi: PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Weller, P., Anderson, M. C., Gómez-Ariza, C. J., & Bajo, T. (2013). On the status of cue independence as a criterion for memory inhibition: Evidence against the covert blocking hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39, 1232–1245. doi: PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ludwigsburg University of EducationLudwigsburgGermany
  2. 2.University of TrierTrierGermany

Personalised recommendations