When remembering causes forgetting: Electrophysiological correlates of retrieval-induced forgetting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


People tend to forget information that is related to memories they are actively trying to retrieve. On the basis of results from behavioral studies, such retrieval-induced forgetting is held to result from inhibitory control processes that are recruited to attenuate interference caused by competing memory traces. Employing electrophysiological measures of brain activity, the present study examined the neural correlates of these inhibitory processes as they operate. The results demonstrate that sustained prefrontal event-related potentials were 1) related to whether or not selective memory retrieval was required during reprocessing of previously studied words and 2) predictive of individual differences in the amount of forgetting observed in an ensuing recall test. The present findings give support to an inhibitory control account of retrieval-induced forgetting and are in accord with the view that prefrontal regions play an important role in the selection and maintenance of relevant memory representations at the expense of those currently irrelevant.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Psychology


  • ERP, inhibition, episodic memory, cognitive control, prefrontal cortex
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1335-1341
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch

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