A Contextual Change Account of the Directed Forgetting Effect

Lili Sahakyan, Colleen M. Kelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors propose that the costs and benefits of directed forgetting in the list method result from an internal context change that occurs between the presentations of 2 lists in response to a "forget" instruction. In Experiment 1 of this study, costs and benefits akin to those found in directed forgetting were obtained in the absence of a forget instruction by a direct manipulation of cognitive context change. Experiment 2 of this study replicated those findings using a different cognitive context manipulation and investigated the effects of context reinstatement at the time of recall. Context reinstatement reduced the memorial costs and benefits of context change in the condition where context had been manipulated and in the standard forget condition. The results are consistent with a context change account of directed forgetting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1064-1072
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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