Effects of repeated retrieval of central and peripheral details in complex emotional slides

B. Hauer*, I. Wessel, H.L.G.J. Merckelbach, A.J. Roefs, T. Dalgleish

*Corresponding author for this work

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Research has demonstrated that repeated retrieval enhances memory for practised verbal information, but undermines correct recall of unpractised related verbal information, a phenomenon known as retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF). This paper addresses the question of what happens with memory for unrehearsed aspects of an emotional picture when retrieval of other aspects of that picture is practised. In two experiments we investigated whether repeated retrieval of certain details of negative emotional slides undermines recall of unrehearsed details of such slides. In Experiment 1 retrieval of peripheral details was practised. The results demonstrated that recall for peripheral details was enhanced. However, correct recall of unpractised central details remained unaffected. Furthermore, retrieval practice did not alter the number of commission errors. Experiment 2 revealed that repeated retrieval of central details enhanced memory for these details. Although more commission errors were produced, again correct recall was not impaired for the unrehearsed central and peripheral details. This failure to find retrieval-induced forgetting effects for complex visual material is at odds with the RIF literature, and potential reasons for this are discussed. The data also extend previous studies in demonstrating that extensive retrieval can increase the number of commission errors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-449
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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