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Despite the fact that directed-forgetting effects have been
attributed to either retrieval inhibition or selective encoding, there has
been no compelling evidence to suggest that either mechanism
regulates performance in both implicit and explicit memory.
Therefore, in two experiments we sought (a) to determine whether
directed forgetting influences tests of implicit (lexical decision) and
explicit (recognition) memory and (b) to examine the relative
contributions of the encoding and retrieval mechanisms thought to
mediate directed forgetting by having participants perform an
external interference task (i.e., sequential finger tapping) at either
encoding or retrieval. In Experiment 1, directed-forgetting effects
were demonstrated by better performance on remember-cued than
on forget-cued words for both lexical decision and recognition. In
Experiment 2, external interference disrupted directed forgetting in
lexical decision when it occurred at retrieval and in recognition at
encoding. These results demonstrate that although directed
forgetting occurs on both implicit and explicit tests, it may be
independently regulated by differential retrieval on the former and
selective encoding on the latter. The discussion focuses on the
differential excitation of remember- and forget-cued word
representations, as inhibitory processing seemed not to account for
directed-forgetting effects in either implicit or explicit memory.