Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Retrieval-induced forgetting of arithmetic facts.

Retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) is a widely studied phenomenon of human memory, but RIF of arithmetic facts remains relatively unexplored. In 2 experiments, we investigated RIF of simple addition facts (2 + 3 = 5) from practice of their multiplication counterparts (2 × 3 = 6). In both experiments, robust RIF expressed in response times occurred only for high-strength small-number addition facts with sums ≤ 10, indicating that RIF from multiplication practice was interference dependent. RIF of addition-fact memory was produced by multiplication retrieval (2 × 3 = ?) but not multiplication study (2 × 3 = 6), supporting an inhibitory mechanism of RIF in arithmetic memory. Finally, RIF occurred with multiplication practiced in word format (three × four) and addition tested later in digit format (3 + 4), which provides evidence that digit and written-word formats for arithmetic accessed a common semantic retrieval network. The results support the view that addition and multiplication facts are stored in an interrelated semantic network and that RIF of competing addition facts is an intrinsic process of multiplication fact retrieval. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved)

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Kevin McGrew, PhD
Educational Psychologist

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