What do we really know about cognitive inhibition? Task demands and inhibitory effects across a range of memory and behavioural tasks

Saima Noreen*, Malcolm David MacLeod

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Our study explores inhibitory control across a range of widely recognised memory and behavioural tasks. Eighty-seven never-depressed participants completed a series of tasks designed to measure inhibitory control in memory and behaviour. Specifically, a variant of the selective retrieval-practice and the Think/No-Think tasks were employed as measures of memory inhibition. The Stroop-Colour Naming and the Go/No-Go tasks were used as measures of behavioural inhibition. Participants completed all 4 tasks. Task presentation order was counterbalanced across 3 separate testing sessions for each participant. Standard inhibitory forgetting effects emerged on both memory tasks but the extent of forgetting across these tasks was not correlated. Furthermore, there was no relationship between memory inhibition tasks and either of the main behavioural inhibition measures. At a time when cognitive inhibition continues to gain acceptance as an explanatory mechanism, our study raises fundamental questions about what we actually know about inhibition and how it is affected by the processing demands of particular inhibitory tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number0134951
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS One
Volume10
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2015

Keywords

  • Suppressing unwanted memories
  • Latent-variable analysis
  • Long-term-memory
  • autobiographical memories
  • Older-adults
  • Individual-differences
  • Thought substitution
  • Eyewitness-memory
  • Executive control
  • Episodic memory

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