Recognition and rejection each induce forgetting


Recognition-induced forgetting, whereby the recognition of targeted memories induces the forgetting of related memories, results from the recognition of old objects and rejection of new objects. Here we asked whether both these tasks are necessary to induce forgetting. Our unique design allowed us to isolate the recognition of old objects from the rejection of new objects by presenting subjects with only new objects, only old objects, and a mixture of both in separate conditions of an old–new recognition task. In all three conditions, we successfully induced forgetting. The magnitude of forgetting was statistically indistinguishable across all three conditions, showing that recognition of old objects and rejection of new objects are each building blocks of forgetting. These findings pinpoint both recognition and rejection as mechanisms underlying recognition-induced forgetting and demonstrate the ubiquity of this forgetting effect.

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  1. 1.

    To preview the results, we found a general effect across the confidence scale (see ROC curves, Fig. 3) and were then able to collapse across confidence ratings for hit rate analyses.

  2. 2.

    When we compared the performance for baseline items, there was a statistically significant effect such that the baseline memory performance (i.e., corrected recognition performance) was best for baseline objects in the all-old category, followed by mixed category and then all-new category. This was the case for both experiments. This suggests that the type of retrieval practice (i.e., all-old, mixed, or all-new) had a category-specific effect that propagated to baseline items. More precisely making more ‘old’ judgments helped memory performance for the baseline items from the same object category. This makes it inappropriate to collapse across all baseline items, and therefore justifies using category-specific baseline comparisons.

  3. 3.

    Further to anticipate our results, we found statistically indistinguishable forgetting in all three conditions, suggesting that the results are not due to subjects shifting response criterion across conditions.


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Author information




K.F., S.P., and A.M. designed the experiments. S.P. and E.C. conducted the experiments. K.F. analyzed the data. A.M. and K.F. wrote the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Keisuke Fukuda.

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Fukuda, K., Pall, S., Chen, E. et al. Recognition and rejection each induce forgetting. Psychon Bull Rev 27, 520–528 (2020).

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  • Retrieval-induced forgetting
  • Recognition-induced forgetting
  • Long-term memory
  • Recognition memory
  • Visual long-term memory