Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

The goal of the current study was to determine if forgetting in visual working memory (VWM) depends on the strength of the memory representations, and to examine different potential mechanisms of directed forgetting in VWM. The strength of memory representations varies depending on factors during encoding and maintenance, which may impact the likelihood of successful forgetting. Experiment 1 manipulated encoding time and cue onset, and utilized eye tracking in order to determine the extent of directed forgetting in VWM. Results support evidence for partial forgetting, and revealed that the strength of memory representations does not impact the likelihood of successful forgetting. Experiment 2 manipulated memory stability and utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging in order to examine different potential mechanisms of directed forgetting. Participants completed a directed forgetting task with faces and buildings. Results from the parahippocampal place area suggest that to-be-remembered buildings elicit higher activation than to-be-forgotten buildings. Finally, dorsolateral prefrontal cortex activation decreased after the cue, suggesting that the cue led to information being dropped from VWM. Overall, results from two experiments suggest that the strength of memory representations does not impact the likelihood of successful forgetting, and the mechanism of directed forgetting in VWM occurs via reduced access.

Date

5-10-2019

Committee Chair

Beck, Melissa

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