Remembering to Forget: The Amnesic Effect of Daydreaming
ABSTRACT Daydreaming mentally transports people to another place or time. Many daydreams are similar in content to the thoughts that people generate when they intentionally try to forget. Thus, thoughts like those generated during daydreaming can cause forgetting of previously encoded events. We conducted two experiments to test the hypothesis that daydreams that are more different from the current moment (e.g., in distance, time, or circumstance) will result in more forgetting than daydreams that are less different from the current moment, because they result in a greater contextual shift. Daydreaming was simulated in the laboratory via instructions to engage in a diversionary thought. Participants learned a list of words, were asked to think about autobiographical memories, and then learned a second list of words. They tended to forget more words from the first list when they thought about their parents' home than when they thought about their current home (Experiment 1). They also tended to forget more when they thought about an international vacation than when they thought about a domestic vacation (Experiment 2). These results support a context-change account of the amnesic effects of daydreaming.
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ABSTRACT: In their paper, Takarangi, Strange, and Lindsay (2014) showed in two experiments that participants who had witnessed a shocking film frequently “mind-wandered without awareness” about the content of the film. More importantly, they equated this effect with the occurrence of traumatic intrusions. In this commentary, we argue that the authors adhered to conceptually ambiguous terms, and thereby unintentionally contribute to an already existing conceptual blur in the trauma-memory field. We postulate that clear definitions are urgently needed for phenomena such as intrusions, flashbacks, and mind-wandering, when using them in the context of trauma memory. Furthermore, our proposal is that these phenomena can fall under a spectrum of different involuntary memory instances. We propose that by adopting stricter definitions and viewing them as separate, but interrelated phenomena, different lines of trauma-memory research can be reconciled, which would considerably advance the field.Consciousness and Cognition 05/2015; 33. DOI:10.1016/j.concog.2014.11.012 · 2.31 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In recent work, retrieval has been shown to enhance memory for events following that retrieval. In this set of experiments, we examined the effects of interleaved semantic retrieval on both previous and future learning within a multilist learning paradigm. Interleaved retrieval led to enhanced memory for lists learned following retrieval. In contrast, memory was impaired for lists learned prior to retrieval (Experiment 1). These results are consistent with recent work in multilist learning, directed forgetting, and list-before-last retrieval, all of which indicate a crucial role for retrieval in enhancing mental list segregation. This pattern of results follows clearly from a theoretical perspective in which retrieval drives internal contextual change and in which contextual overlap between study and test promotes better memory. Consistent with that perspective, a 15-min delay before the final test eliminated both effects (Experiment 2). Experiment 2 replicated the results of Experiment 1 with materials and assessments more appropriate for educational settings: Interleaved semantic retrieval led learners to be more able to answer questions correctly about texts studied after a retrieval event but less able to do so for texts studied earlier.Memory & Cognition 06/2014; 42(7). DOI:10.3758/s13421-014-0425-y · 1.92 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Selective retrieval of some studied items can both impair and improve recall of the other items. This study examined the role of working memory capacity (WMC) for the two effects of memory retrieval. Participants studied an item list consisting of predefined target and nontarget items. After study of the list, half of the participants performed an imagination task supposed to induce a change in mental context, whereas the other half performed a counting task which does not induce such context change. Following presentation of a second list, memory for the original list's target items was tested, either with or without preceding retrieval of the list's nontarget items. Consistent with previous work, preceding nontarget retrieval impaired target recall in the absence of the context change, but improved target recall in its presence. In particular, there was a positive relationship between WMC and the beneficial, but not the detrimental effect of memory retrieval. On the basis of the view that the beneficial effect of memory retrieval reflects context-reactivation processes, the results indicate that individuals with higher WMC are better able to capitalise on retrieval-induced context reactivation than individuals with lower WMC.Memory 06/2014; 23(5):1-9. DOI:10.1080/09658211.2014.927506 · 2.09 Impact Factor