Retrieval-induced forgetting in schizophrenia

Nestor PG, Piech R, Allen C, Niznikiewicz M, Shenton ME, McCarley RW

Schizophr. Res. 2005 Jun;75(2-3):199-209

PMID: 15885511


Retrieving category associates (e.g., FRUIT-ORANGE) may induce forgetting other category members (e.g., FRUIT-BANANA), a phenomenon known as retrieval-induced forgetting (RIF). We designed 2 experiments to examine the role of RIF in the associative memory impairment of schizophrenia (SZ). Subjects studied 36 category-exemplar pairs, generated from 6 categories composed of 6 members each. For half of the studied category-exemplar pairs, subjects practiced retrieval by completing word stems, followed by a delayed category-cued recall on all of the practiced and unpracticed items. Experiment 1 used unrelated category exemplars-pairs (e.g., FRUIT-ORANGE, METALS-IRON), whereas experiment 2 included related category exemplar pairs (e.g., COTTON-SHIRT, LEATHER-SKIRT). SZ showed reduced associative memory but normal RIF for unrelated categories used in experiment 1. For experiment 2, SZ showed a significant decline in associative memory for related but not unrelated category-exemplars in comparison to controls. Results suggested faulty specificity/distinctiveness for encoding and retrieval, but not abnormal RIF in the associative memory disturbance of SZ.