Directed forgetting of recently recalled autobiographical memories

Amanda J. Barnier*, Martin A. Conway, Lyndel Mayoh, Joanne Speyer, Orit Avizmil, Celia B. Harris

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    85 Citations (Scopus)


    In 6 experiments, the authors investigated list-method directed forgetting of recently recalled autobiographical memories. Reliable directed forgetting effects were observed across all experiments. In 4 experiments, the authors examined the impact of memory valence on directed forgetting. The forget instruction impaired recall of negative, positive, and neutral memories equally, although overall, participants recalled fewer unemotional memories than emotional memories. The preexisting organization of memories enhanced the directed forgetting effect, and a release from forgetting occurred only when the forgotten memories were directly cued. The authors discuss the roles of emotion, retrieval dynamics, and organization in these effects and suggest that the directed forgetting of recently recalled autobiographical memories may reflect the inhibition of recently formed memories of remembering, that is, episodic inhibition. The authors consider the implications of these findings for the control of autobiographical remembering in everyday life. PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)301-322
    Number of pages22
    JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2007


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