Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Kenneth Malmberg, Ph.D.


Directed, Remember, Forget, Context, REM


Intentional forgetting is a phenomenon that has been studied by memory researchers since 1968 (Bjork, LaBerge, & Legrand, 1968), however a formal model to explain directed forgetting has not yet been developed. In this paper, I will review the literature on directed forgetting and discuss the results six experiments used assess directed forgetting in highly controlled manner. The striking findings are a.) that directed forgetting phenomena are observed for both free recall and recognition memory when the list method is utilized, b.) that almost the entire effect in free recall is the result of the ability to initially recall the item from the first serial position, and c.) that the costs and benefits are separately affected by an increase in the retention interval. After extensive model analyses, no simple rehearsal or context based model was identified that can handle the full data set. Here I describe a Retrieving Effectively from Memory model (REM; Shiffrin & Steyvers, 1997) that does account for the full range of findings by blurring the traditional distinctions between these classical approached to directed forgetting phenomena.