Forgetting at short term: When do event-based interference and temporal factors have an effect?

Abstract : Memory tasks combining storage and distracting tasks performed at either encoding or retrieval have provided divergent results pointing towards accounts of forgetting in terms of either temporal decay or event-based interference respectively. The aim of this study was to shed light on the possible sources of such a divergence that could rely on methodological aspects or deeper differences in the memory traces elicited by the different paradigms used. Methodological issues were explored in a first series of experiments by introducing at retrieval computer-paced distracting tasks that involved articulatory suppression, attentional demand, or both. A second series of experiments that used a similar design was intended to induce differences in the nature of memory traces by increasing the time allowed for encoding the to-be-remembered items. Although the introduction of computer-paced distracting tasks allowed for a strict control of temporal parameters, the first series of experiments replicated the effects usually attributed to event-based interference. However, deeper encoding abolished these effects while time-related effects remained unchanged. These findings suggest that the interplay between temporal factors and event-based interference in forgetting at short term is more complex than expected and could depend on the nature of memory traces.
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Pierre Barrouillet, Gaën Plancher, Alessandro Guida, Valérie Camos. Forgetting at short term: When do event-based interference and temporal factors have an effect?. Acta Psychologica, Elsevier, 2013, 142 (2), pp.155 - 167. ⟨10.1016/j.actpsy.2012.12.003⟩. ⟨hal-01874139⟩

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