When does Retrieval Induce Forgetting and When does it Induce Facilitation? Implications for Retrieval Inhibition, Testing Effect, and Text Processing

Chan, Jason
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Chan, Jason
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Retrieval practice can enhance long-term retention of the tested material (the testing effect), but it can also impair later recall of the nontested material – a phenomenon known as retrieval-induced forgetting (Anderson, M. C., Bjork, R. A., & Bjork, E. L. (1994). Remembering can cause forgetting: retrieval dynamics in long-term memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 20(5), 1063–1087). Recent research, however, has shown that retrieval practice can sometimes improve later recall of the nontested material – a phenomenon termed retrieval-induced facilitation (Chan, J. C. K., McDermott, K. B., & Roediger, H. L. (2006). Retrieval-induced facilitation: initially nontested material can benefit from prior testing of related material. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135, 553–571). What drives these different effects? Two experiments were designed to examine the conditions under which retrieval induces forgetting and facilitation. Two variables, the level of integration invoked during encoding and the length of delay between retrieval practice and final test, were revealed as critical factors in determining whether testing facilitated or hindered later retrieval of the nontested information. A text processing framework is advanced to account for these findings.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Memory and Language. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Memory and Language, [61, 2, (August 2009)] doi:10.1016/j.jml.2009.04.004.

Memory, testing effect, education, retrieval practice, retrieval-induced forgetting, retrieval induced facillitation, delay, integration, prose, situation model, discourse processing, retention interval, inhibition