Psychological Research

Essay samples



Detailsof the article

Thearticle “High working memory capacity predicts less retrievalinduced forgetting” was written by Jonathan Mall and Candice Morey.The article was published in Plos One on January 11, 2013.

Themain purpose of the article is to investigate the relationship thatexists between retrieval induced forgetting (RIFO) and the WorkingMemory Capacity (WMC). The authors used two contrasting hypotheses(including the memory search abilities and the executive control) toinvestigate this relationship. The relationship between WMC and RIFOis based on the notion that executive control that occurs duringmemory retrieval leads to RIFO, which in turn reduces theaccessibility of memory traces. The authors conducted an experiment,which was accomplished by putting the study participants into groupsof eight and then testing them in rooms with multiple cubicles. Theresearchers conducted an experiment using a sample of 125 students(95 women and 30 men) from the University of Groningen. One of theinclusion criteria was that all the study participants should befluent Dutch speakers. The researchers identified that the studyparticipants with low working memory capacity had retrieval inducedforgetting between and within various overlapping categories. Thestudy participants with high working memory capacity, on the otherhand, display between category retrieval induced forgetting only. The researchers concluded that inhibition is the major cause ofretrieval induced forgetting, which creates the need for theconsideration of individual differences in memory retrieval-inducedeffects.

Problemsin the study and future research

Thestudy has two major problems that limit its implication in the fieldof psychology and its generalizability. First, although theresearchers used a suitable design to conduct the experiment, themethodology adopted failed to distinguish between non-inhibitory andinhibitory determinants of participants’ forgetting. Theresearchers focused on inhibitory determinants and overlooked thenon-inhibitory ones. Despite the fact that the retrieval inducedforgetting is mostly affected by inhibitory forgetting, forgettingcan be partly affected by non-inhibitory processes. This limits theinterpretation of the implication of the research findings. Secondly,although the researchers used random approach in the process ofsample selection per category, the initial sample selection led tothe recruitment of more female subjects than men within a narrow agegroup (18-43 years). Based on the two major limitations, the futureresearch on the same topic should take account of the effectsnon-inhibitory processes and apply random selection to ensure thatthe study sample serves as the correct representation of the studypopulation. As a researcher, the next study should focus on theapplication of the findings of the present study in designing themost appropriate approaches that can be used to teach people on theuse of retrieval cues in different contexts.

Lessonslearned from the article

Thearticle provides useful information about the functioning of thememory system and how retrieval of information from the memoryindices forgetting. This phenomenon, termed by the researchers as theretrieval-induced forgetting, is contrary to my initial thoughtfrequent retrieval of information enhances one’s memory and reducesthe tendency to forget. The newly acquired information will help mein designing different training approaches for people with lowworking memory capacity and others for those with high working memorycapacity. This relates directly to my field of psychology and myprofessional life because it enhances my understanding of how peoplecan apply retrieval cues to increase their capacity to remember itemswith minimal overlaps.


Mall,J. &amp Morey, C. (2013). High working memory capacity predicts lessretrieval induced forgetting. PlosONE,8 (1). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052806