Assessment of selective search as an explanation for intentional forgetting

Donald Homa, Susan Spieker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Investigated an assessment of selective search as an explanation for intentional forgetting by measuring reaction time (RT) in paired-associate lists of varying length. Ss were 44 college students. On half of the trials, a postinput cue was provided which instructed S to forget either the 1st or 2nd half of the list, and a single-stimulus probe was presented from the remaining pairs. For 1 group of Ss, the response items within a list were unrelated nouns; for another group, the response items within each list were half from the same category, but the categories within a list were different. For both random and categorized lists, it was found that (a) RT increased with list length and (b) RT was significantly reduced by a forget cue, with some indication that this reduction was greater for categorized lists. It is concluded that the criteria for a selective-search interpretation for intentional forgetting were satisfied, and that, for the most recently presented items, a serial and self-terminating search may be involved. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 1974


  • list length & instructions to forget reaction time in paired-associate list learning, college students, test for selective search explanation of intentional forgetting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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