Oh, Honey, I Already Forgot That: Strategic Control of Directed Forgetting in Older and Younger Adults

Lili Sahakyan, Peter F. Delaney, Leilani B. Goodmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two experiments investigated list-method directed forgetting with older and younger adults. Using standard directed forgetting instructions, significant forgetting was obtained with younger but not older adults. However, in Experiment 1 older adults showed forgetting with an experimenter-provided strategy that induced a mental context change-specifically, engaging in diversionary thought. Experiment 2 showed that age-related differences in directed forgetting occurred because older adults were less likely than younger adults to initiate a strategy to attempt to forget. When the instructions were revised to downplay their concerns about memory, older adults engaged in effective forgetting strategies and showed significant directed forgetting comparable in magnitude to younger adults. The results highlight the importance of strategic processes in directed forgetting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-633
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology and aging
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • context change
  • directed forgetting
  • executive control
  • strategy use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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