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Nourkova V.V., Gofman A.A. (2018). Intentional Forgetting: Current Status and Future Prospects of Research. National Psychological Journal. 3, 117-128.


Background. Classical psychology has considered forgetting as a negative process of failure of memorization and extraction, but did not deem it a separate mental process with specific features. The pioneer studies of intentional forgetting were conducted only in the late 1960s. Therefore, it seems to us relevant to present an analysis of the research methods that have been used to study purposeful forgetting.

The Objective is to analyze thoroughly intentional forgetting in modern cognitive psychology and to justify the assumption that the productive development of intentional forgetting issues should be associated with the priority attention to the regulating function of the mnemonic goal and its structure. A hypothesis lies in the fact that a particular operation of the mnemonic action of forgetting consists in disconnecting the content links between the constituent mnemonic elements made during memorizing process.

Design. Two of the most common experimental procedures for inducing the effect of reducing the reproduction of stimulus material after the "Forget" instruction are described: the item method and the list method. The results show four ways of interpreting the intentional forgetting effect: the aspirations of the subjects to meet the experimenter's expectations, selective encoding and selective processing of the material presented, the mechanism of active "retrieval inhibition" and eliminating the mnemonic trace. The concept of mnemonic action introduced in the works of P.I. Zinchenko and the concept of the mnemonic scheme as a program for the subsequent reproduction of V.Ya. Lyaudis are considered.

The Research Results suggest that when trying to perform an inadequate mnemonic query, the subject is forced to implement an additional operation, which may be attributed to potential forgetting operations. The development of this hypothesis consists in the theoretical description of operations that destroy the existing mnemonic scheme, followed by an empirical test of their amnesogenic effectiveness. Such an approach can be used in further studies of intentional forgetting.

Conclusion. Encoding and processing of mnemonic material, extraction, and the mechanism for inhibited reproduction play a role in shaping the effect of intentional forgetting. Considering the fact that the mnemonic trace can fade over time or for other reasons, forgetting is deemed as a multifaceted process. Prospects for the development of this subject area should be conducted using the mnemonic construct.

Received: 03/26/2018
Accepted: 04/12/2018
Pages: 117-128
DOI: 10.11621/npj.2018.0311

Sections: Cognitive Psychology;


Keywords: intentional forgetting; retrieval inhibition; mnemonic goal; mnemonic action; mnemonic scheme;

Available Online 30.09.2018


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Nourkova V.V., Gofman A.A. (2018). Intentional Forgetting: Current Status and Future Prospects of Research. National Psychological Journal. 3, 117-128.

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