ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (6): 716-729.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.00716

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting in a naturalistic collaborative retrieval situation

ZHANG Huan1,2,3, HOU Shuang1, WANG Haiman1, LIAN Yuxuan1, YANG Haibo1,2,3()   

  1. 1 Faculty of Psychology, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300387, China
    2 Center of Collaborative Innovation for Assessment and Promotion of Mental Health, Tianjin 300074, China
    3 Key Research Base of Humanities and Social Sciences of the Ministry of Education, Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300074, China
  • Received:2019-07-31 Published:2020-06-25 Online:2020-04-22
  • Contact: Haibo YANG


In our daily life, people have plenty of opportunities to share their memories of past experience or knowledge with others. In such conversation, the phenomenon which, due to conscious or unconscious selective retrieval of speakers, listeners forget the unmentioned but relevant memories, is called socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting (SS-RIF). Based on previous research of the phenomenon, the current study focuses on the influence of bottom-up processing of social interactive situations and top-down cognitive control of inhibition on SS-RIF, investigating whether the presence of speaker or not, and the listener's ability of various types of inhibition control would affect the occurrence and scale of SS-RIF.

In Experiment 1, a 2 (interactive level: the presence of the speaker, the absence of the speaker) × 2 (interactive role: speaker, listener) × 4 (item types: Rp+, Rp-, Nrp+, Nrp-) mixed design was adopted, in which interactive level was the between-participants design while interactive role and item type were the within-participants design. The dependent variable was the correct recall proportion in the final recall test. A total of 116 healthy volunteers participated in Experiment 1. They were randomly assigned to different interactive level conditions. All participants of Experiment 1 were recruited in Experiment 2 to explore the effect of different types of inhibitory control on socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting in different experimental conditions.

It was found in Experiment 1 that, regardless of condition, the phenomenon of within-individual retrieval- induced forgetting in speakers appeared; however, the socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting in listeners only arose in the presence of the speaker condition. Furthermore, Experiment 2, carried out on the basis of Experiment 1, showed that the effect of socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting was independent from levels of inhibitory control. Interestingly, in the presence of the speaker condition, the effect of socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting in listeners was correlated with the effect of their within-individual retrieval- induced forgetting as speakers.

The above results indicate that the factor of social interactive situation indeed plays a significant role in the effect of SS-RIF. Without the presence of speaker, through monitoring the accuracy of audio material, listener's SS-RIF do not appear. Moreover, the finding that levels of inhibition control do not affect SS-RIF may provide evidence for the double or multiple mechanisms under SS-RIF in social interactive condition, that is, not only inhibition, but also other mechanisms such as blocking jointly explain the phenomenon of SS-RIF. Furthermore, according to the correlation of the same person's effect of socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting as listener and within-individual retrieval-induced forgetting as speaker, it can be speculated that the inner mechanism of SS-RIF and RIF shares certain similarities. These findings are of great significance for understanding the occurrence conditions and factors affecting socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting, and shed light on the bidirectional processing model of SS-RIF. Further, they contribute to the revelation of the important role of SS-RIF in listeners forming collective memory, and provide some inspiring viewpoints for future research.

Key words: socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting, presence of the speaker, inhibitory control, incidental memory suppression

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