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28-04-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 3/2017

Psychological Research 3/2017

That’s a good idea, but let’s keep thinking! Can we prevent our initial ideas from being forgotten as a consequence of thinking of new ideas?

Psychological Research > Uitgave 3/2017
Annie S. Ditta, Benjamin C. Storm


Four experiments examined participants’ ability to remember their own ideas in a modified Alternative Uses Task. Participants were asked to generate uses for objects, and on half of the trials participants were then asked to think of more uses. Memory for the initial uses they generated was then tested via a cued-recall task. Results demonstrated that participants forgot their initial uses as a consequence of thinking of new uses (referred to as the thinking-induced forgetting effect), and this effect persisted even when participants chose the subset of uses they thought were the most creative and to be remembered. The only scenario in which uses were protected from forgetting was when they were required to use their uses as hints for generating more ideas. Together, these findings demonstrate that one’s own ideas are susceptible to forgetting when additional ideas must be generated, indicating that thinking is a modifier of memory despite one’s motivation to preserve their ideas.

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