Memory accessibility and medical decision-making for significant others: The role of socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting

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Abstract

Medical decisions will often entail a broad search for relevant information. No sources alone may offer a complete picture, and many may be selective in their presentation. This selectivity may induce forgetting for previously learned material, thereby adversely affecting medical decision-making. In the study phase of two experiments, participants learned information about a fictitious disease and advantages and disadvantages of four treatment options. In the subsequent practice phase, they read a pamphlet selectively presenting either relevant (Experiment 1) or irrelevant (Experiment 2) advantages or disadvantages. A final cued recall followed and, in Experiment 2, a decision as to the best treatment for a patient. Not only did reading the pamphlet induce forgetting for related and unmentioned information, the induced forgetting adversely affected decisionmaking. The research provides a cautionary note about the risks of searching through selectively presented information when making a medical decision. © 2013 Coman, Coman and Hirst.

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Coman, D., Coman, A., & Hirst, W. (2013). Memory accessibility and medical decision-making for significant others: The role of socially shared retrieval-induced forgetting. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, (JUN). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2013.00072

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