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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 4/2021

21-04-2020 | Original Article

Can you voluntarily forget what you are planning to forget? Behavioral evidence for the underlying truth of the cost–benefit principle

Auteurs: Zhili Han, Yidong Yang, Qun Zhang, Lei Mo

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 4/2021

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Abstract

Directed forgetting (DF) or intentional forgetting can impair the recall of items cued to be forgotten (so-called cost) but can also improve the recall of items cued to be remembered (so-called benefit), following the cost–benefit principle. However, whether the forget cue is the cause of intentional forgetting is doubtful. Several studies suggest that intentional forgetting is extremely hard by introducing a noncue condition, but it is not enough to explain how the cost–benefit principle works without forgetting. Here, two series of experiments are designed to test the voluntary control ability of attentional resource allocation from memory benefits to costs. In the Experiment 1 series, we changed the position and content of cues, replicating the DF effect and the analogous effect without a forget cue. The results showed that precueing can mildly upregulate memory attentional resources to improve performance while incurring memory costs for other items. Since forced remembering can also induce memory costs and benefits, the cost–benefit principle may not be attributed to DF. In the Experiment 2 series, we further demonstrated that memory costs and benefits exist when implicit cues are employed. Overall, when the results of all memory costs in the above experiments are compared with a noncue condition as the baseline in Experiment 2c, there exist no significant differences. The current results indicate that we can voluntarily upregulate our memory performance for certain items but cannot voluntarily downregulate memory encoding, generalizing the selective attentional resource control account to the cost–benefit principle beyond the directed-forgetting effect.

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Metagegevens
Titel
Can you voluntarily forget what you are planning to forget? Behavioral evidence for the underlying truth of the cost–benefit principle
Auteurs
Zhili Han
Yidong Yang
Qun Zhang
Lei Mo
Publicatiedatum
21-04-2020
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 4/2021
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01339-8