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ERIC Number: EJ945345
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 15
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Thinking Can Cause Forgetting: Memory Dynamics in Creative Problem Solving
Storm, Benjamin C.; Angello, Genna; Bjork, Elizabeth Ligon
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v37 n5 p1287-1293 Sep 2011
Research on retrieval-induced forgetting has shown that retrieval can cause the forgetting of related or competing items in memory (Anderson, Bjork, & Bjork, 1994). In the present research, we examined whether an analogous phenomenon occurs in the context of creative problem solving. Using the Remote Associates Test (RAT; Mednick, 1962), we found that attempting to generate a novel common associate to 3 cue words caused the forgetting of other strong associates related to those cue words. This problem-solving-induced forgetting effect occurred even when participants failed to generate a viable solution, increased in magnitude when participants spent additional time problem solving, and was positively correlated with problem-solving success on a separate set of RAT problems. These results implicate a role for forgetting in overcoming fixation in creative problem solving. (Contains 1 table and 2 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; Illinois
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Remote Associates Test