Retrieval-induced forgetting in kindergartners: Evaluating the inhibitory account
Repeatedly retrieving information from memory can induce forgetting of related, un-retrieved information below baseline, an effect termed retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF; Anderson, Bjork & Bjork, 1994). The inhibitory account of RIF (e.g., Anderson, 2003) has received extensive support in the literature, especially through studies designed to empirically test inhibitory-based principles of RIF in adults. These principles include cue independence (RIF persists in the absence of the cue used during practice), interference/competition dependence (inhibition serves to resolve interference/competition between the cue and associated items during practice), strength independence (RIF is not strictly due to a target strengthening and competitor forgetting trade-off), retrieval-specificity (retrieval attempts are required to create the interference/ competition responsible for triggering inhibition), and output interference independence (RIF persists when output interference is controlled). However, competition-based explanations do not require an inhibitory component and can also account for many adult RIF findings. Very little RIF research has examined young children’s memory, whose immature memory systems might not be capable of demonstrating an inhibitory-driven effect. This dissertation filled this gap in the literature by thoroughly evaluating the inhibitory account of RIF in kindergartners (Ks). Two groups of Ks completed two RIF tasks that tested cue independence, competition/interference dependence, and strength independence in the first experiment, and retrieval-specificity, output interference independence, and strength-independence again in the second experiment. When a novel cue was used to test final memory (Experiment 1), and when a cue-free recognition test was used that controlled for output interference (Experiment 2), no RIF was found. These results, along with correlational evidence of strength dependence, favour a competition-based account of Ks’ RIF. Implications for inhibition theory and the potential development of RIF are discussed.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
SupervisorMarche, Tammy A.
CommitteeCampbell, Jamie; O'Connell, Megan; Howland, John; Price, Heather
Copyright DateAugust 2015