International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy

Volume 6 Num. 2 - July 2006


Revision of Retrieval Theory of Forgetting: What does Make Information Context-Specific? [Revisi?n de la Teor?a de la Recuperaci?n de la Informaci?n: ?Qu? Convierte a la Informaci?n en Dependiente del Contexto?]

Volume 6 Num. 2 - July 2006 - Pages 147-166


Juan M. Rosas, Jos? E. Callejas Aguilera, Manuel M. Ramos ?lvarez, and Mar?a J. Fern?ndez Abad ,


The role of context in retrieval of the information is explored, focusing in the differential effects of context change on acquisition and interfering information. Retrieval theory has proposed that context changes affect a specific type of information, either inhibitory or second-learned, interfering information. We propose a modification of retrieval theory based on recent results in our laboratory that suggests that context-specificity does not depend on specific features of the information, but on specific features of the situation that lead participants to pay attention to the context. Once there is something in the situation that leads participants to pay attention to the context, all the information learned seems to become context specific, regardless of whether it is the first or the second meaning of the cue. The outlines of this attentional theory of context processing are proposed.

Key words:

Retrieval theory of forgetting, Context, Attention, Interference, Predictive learning

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