The role of forget-cue salience in list-method directed forgetting

Nathaniel L. Foster, Lili Sahakyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research suggests that manipulating the wording of the forget cue in list-method directed forgetting affects the magnitude of directed forgetting both in younger children (Aslan, Staudigl, Samenieh, & Bauml, in press) and in older adults (Sahakyan, Delaney, & Goodmon, 2008). This occurs when the forget cue overemphasises the importance of forgetting in the current context. The present experiment investigated whether de-emphasising forgetting affected the magnitude of list-method directed forgetting in college adults. Some participants received overt forget cues that explicitly instructed them to forget earlier studied items, whereas others received covert forget cues that implied forgetting by emphasising selective remembering (e.g., "you will only need to remember some of the items"). Results indicated equivalent directed forgetting for both types of cues. However, regardless of the type of cue received, participants who reported using specific forgetting strategies in response to the forget cue showed directed forgetting, whereas those that reported doing nothing did not show any effects. The results underscore that successful directed forgetting requires engagement of controlled processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 14 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Controlled processes
  • Directed forgetting
  • Metacognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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