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Script knowledge modulates retrieval-induced forgetting for eyewitness events

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To determine the influence of knowledge schemata on inhibitory processes we analysed how the typicality of the actions of an event modulated retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF). Participants were presented with a realistic videotape of a bank robbery. Based on a normative study, high- and low-typicality actions of the event were determined. After watching the video, participants practised retrieving either half of the high- or half of the low-typicality actions, and their performance was compared against a no-practice control group. Tests given immediately after the event and after a 1-week retention interval demonstrated significant RIF for low-typicality actions exclusively when low-typicality actions were practised, but a comparable forgetting effect did not emerge for highly schematic actions. These findings confirm that highly integrated script knowledge protects high-typicality actions of an event from inhibitory processes, and demonstrate that RIF's effects last far longer than has been previously found.
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Keywords: Eyewitness memory; Retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF); Script knowledge

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain 2: University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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