Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Andrew Olney

Committee Member

Jason Braasch

Committee Member

Scott Hinze

Committee Member

Craig Stewart


The purpose of the current research was to explore the detrimental effects of proactive interference during multiple text comprehension and whether it could be reduced by intentionally forgetting the interfering information using the directed forgetting paradigm. In Experiment 1, a subset of participants read 10 argumentative texts on the same topic (control condition), whereas others read 20. Of those who read 20, some were instructed to remember all texts (proactive interference condition), whereas others were instructed after reading the first 10 texts to forget them and remember only the next 10 (directed forgetting condition). On final recognition tests of the texts’ claims and evidence, the proactive interference and directed forgetting conditions performed similarly—both with higher intrusion errors from earlier-read texts compared to the control condition. Results suggested that directed forgetting instructions did not help participants reduce proactive interference. Experiment 2 added the manipulation of text topic relatedness, which ultimately did not have any bearing on the effectiveness of directed forgetting instructions. Additional exploratory analyses using reading time, response time, d’, and investigation of one-sided non-compliance could not shed conclusive light on an explanation for the lack of benefit of directed forgetting. Potential reasons and avenues of future research are discussed.


Data is provided by the student

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access