Are stronger memories forgotten more slowly? No evidence that memory strength influences the rate of forgetting

Haggar Cohen-Dallal*, Isaac Fradkin, Yoni Pertzov

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Information stored in visual short-term memory is used ubiquitously in daily life; however, it is forgotten rapidly within seconds. When more items are to be remembered, they are forgotten faster, potentially suggesting that stronger memories are forgotten less rapidly. Here we tested this prediction with three experiments that assessed the influence of memory strength on the rate of forgetting of visual information without manipulating the number of items. Forgetting rate was assessed by comparing the accuracy of reports in a delayed-estimation task following relatively short and long retention intervals. In the first experiment, we compared the forgetting rate of items that were directly fixated, to items that were not. In Experiments 2 and 3 we manipulated memory strength by extending the exposure time of one item in the memory array. As expected, direct fixation and longer exposure led to better accuracy of reports, reflecting stronger memory. However, in all three experiments, we did not find evidence that increased memory strength moderated the forgetting rate.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0200292
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Cohen-Dallal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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