Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name





associative memory, directed forgetting, intentional forgetting, memory


Lori Buchanan




Much of directed forgetting research has pitted two competing hypotheses against each other: selective rehearsal and retrieval inhibition. Primarily, the current work explores a novel link between directed forgetting and associative memory, such that the item and cue are unitized and encoded together at study and at test, participants make their old/new judgement based on this association. Specifically, a more typical directed forgetting procedure where participants were told to remember specific items (R-cue) and forget others (F-cue) was compared with a procedure where participants were told to remember which cue (Blue-cue vs. Yellow-cue) was associated with each item. At test, participants were required to indicate which cue items were presented with at study (i.e. R, F, or a new item or Blue, Yellow, or new). As expected, a directed forgetting effect was only found using the typical procedure, with better discriminability for R-cued items than F-cued items. Although the overall level of accuracy in tagging was relatively low for all R-cued, F-cued, Yellow-cued, and Blue-cued items, there were no differences found between correctly tagged R- and F-cued items and correctly tagged Yellow- and Blue-cued items. Despite a directed forgetting effect, participants were equally able to tag R-cued and F-cued items (or Yellow- and Blue-cued items). Our results suggest that conceptualizing directed forgetting as a type of tagging through associations is worthy of follow-up research. The present work is also the first to directly compare the effect of cue timing on directed forgetting. Results demonstrate that directed forgetting is most efficient when cues are placed before the study items, as participants tend to remember R-cued information and forget F-cued information most with this cue timing thus implicating a role for rehearsal as opposed to retrieval processes in the directed forgetting effect.