The representation of response effector and response location in episodic memory for newly acquired actions : evidence from retrieval-induced forgetting

Reppa, Irene and Worth, E Rhian and Greville, W James and Saunders, Jo (2013) The representation of response effector and response location in episodic memory for newly acquired actions : evidence from retrieval-induced forgetting. Acta Psychologica, 143 (2). pp. 210-217.

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Abstract

Information retrieval can cause forgetting for related but non-retrieved information. Such retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF) has been previously found for semantically and episodically related information. The current study used RIF to examine whether response effector and location are encoded explicitly in action memory. Participants learned unique touchscreen responses to ten novel objects. Correct actions to each object involved left-hand or right-hand pushing of one of four possible object buttons. After learning, participants practiced two of the ten object-specific sequences. Unpracticed actions could share hand only, button only, both hand and button, or neither hand nor button, with the practiced actions. Subsequent testing showed significant RIF (in retrieval accuracy and speed measures) for actions that shared hand only, button only, or both hand and button with the practiced action. The results have implications for understanding the representations mediating episodic action memory, and for the potential of RIF as a tool for elucidating feature-based representations in this and other domains.