September 2011
Volume 11, Issue 11
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2011
Retrieval-induced Perceptual Suppression: Selective retrieval of mental images can result in perceptual deterioration of non-retrieved images
Author Affiliations
  • Jihyun Cha
    Department of Psychology, Yonsei University
  • Eunah Joo
    Department of Psychology, Yonsei University
  • Kyung Bo Seo
    Department of Psychology, Yonsei University
  • Su Hyoun Park
    Department of Psychology, Yonsei University
Journal of Vision September 2011, Vol.11, 1270. doi:
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      Jihyun Cha, Eunah Joo, Kyung Bo Seo, Su Hyoun Park; Retrieval-induced Perceptual Suppression: Selective retrieval of mental images can result in perceptual deterioration of non-retrieved images. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):1270. doi:

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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An attempt to retrieve an item from memory can result in negative effect on future retrieval of other related-but-unwanted items, and such negative consequence of selective retrieval is called ‘Retrieval Induced Forgetting’ (Anderson, Bjork, & Bjork, 1994). The majority of research on retrieval-induced forgetting has employed word recall task to demonstrate the suppression of non-retrieved items on semantic level. The current study suggests that selective retrieval during mental imagery can invoke deterioration of perceptual representation itself. The participants engaged in mental imagery task in which they retrieved the shape of previously studied line-drawing pictures in mind. The category name and the fragmented lines of each picture were presented as retrieval cues. Experiment 1 measured recall accuracy for the picture names to determine whether mental imagery task can invoke retrieval-induced forgetting in verbal dimension. The result showed that recall accuracy for non-retrieved items in retrieved categories (Rp-) was significantly worse than that for non-retrieved categories (Nrp). Experiment 2 employed perceptual identification task in which participant adjusted the level of occluding noise until they were able to identify the original pictures. Noise level for correct identification was lower for Rp- items than Nrp items when measured with the identical pictures presented at the study phase but not with mirror-reversed pictures. This result confirms the decline in identification performance for Rp- items was mainly due to perceptual suppression than to semantic suppression. Experiment 3 employed recognition between a pair of different pictures that have the same name and meaning. The result showed that recognition time for Rp- items was slower than Nrp items. These results suggest that selective retrieval of specific representation during mental imagery can induce forgetting of semantically related-but-unwanted representations in perceptual dimension.


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