ERP and behavioural evidence for direct suppression of unwanted memories.

Bergström, Zara M and de Fockert, Jan and Richardson-Klavehn, Alan (2009) ERP and behavioural evidence for direct suppression of unwanted memories. Neuroimage, 48 (4). pp. 726-737. ISSN 1053-8119 . (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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There are some past experiences that we would prefer not to remember. Previous research has shown that repeatedly stopping retrieval of an unwanted memory increases the probability of later forgetting of that memory, and engages prefrontal control mechanisms to attenuate activity in the hippocampus. However, the mechanisms of preventing memory retrieval, and how these relate to the later forgetting, are yet to be fully understood. Here we present neural and behavioural evidence that two distinct strategies for retrieval stopping - direct memory suppression and self-distracting thought substitution - contribute to forgetting of unwanted memories in qualitatively different ways. Only direct memory suppression reduced centro-parietal positivity in the event-related potentials (ERP) between 300 and 600 ms post-stimulus, consistent with a reduction in the ERP correlate of recollection. Furthermore, only direct memory suppression produced later inhibitory forgetting that was predicted by an earlier negative ERP effect that may be associated with motor inhibition. In contrast, thought substitution produced later non-inhibitory forgetting and had no effect on the ERP correlate of recollection. Our findings demonstrate the first ERP and behavioural dissociation between inhibitory and non-inhibitory forgetting, and suggest that unwanted memories may be directly suppressed without selective retrieval of alternative memories.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Depositing User: Zara Bergstrom
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2012 19:06
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2014 10:28
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