Retrieval-induced forgetting of emotional and unemotional autobiographical memories

Amanda J. Barnier*, Lynette Hung, Martin A. Conway

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)


This experiment extended the retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) procedure from simple, episodic information to emotional and unemotional autobiographical memories. In the elicitation phase, participants generated specific memories from their past in response to negative, neutral, or positive category cues. In the retrieval-practice phase, they practised retrieving (and elaborated further on) some of the memories for some of the categories. In the final test phase, they tried to recall all memories. Memories that received retrieval practice were recalled more often on final test than baseline memories, whereas memories that were not practised, yet competed with practised memories via a shared category cue, were recalled less often than baseline memories. We discuss the roles of inhibition, competition, emotion, and self-relevance, and consider what laboratory manipulations of memory might reveal about everyday and pathological personal memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-477
Number of pages21
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004
Externally publishedYes


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