Not all information in visual working memory is forgotten equally

Katherine C. Moen, Juan D. Guevara Pinto, Megan H. Papesh, Melissa R. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To improve maintenance of task-relevant information in visual working memory (VWM), previously encoded, but no longer relevant, information can be suppressed or forgotten. However, it is unclear whether a cue directing attention to a subset of stimuli leads to complete forgetting for non-cued stimuli. The current study utilized a novel method of testing to-be forgotten information to determine if the effectiveness of forgetting differs depending on the type of encoded stimuli. Participants performed a directed forgetting change detection task, and importantly, the changed stimulus could be a novel stimulus or a to-be-forgotten stimulus. Stimulus type (colors, objects, or shapes) was manipulated across two experiments. Results suggest that a cue benefits memory for to-be-remembered information, but performance is not equivalent to never encoding to-be-forgotten information. Furthermore, the type of encoded information impacts the extent of forgetting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102782
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
StatePublished - Sep 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Complete forgetting
  • Directed forgetting
  • Partial forgetting
  • Visual working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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