Are Mental Blocks Forgotten During Creative Problem Solving Due to Inhibitory Control?
Angello, Genna Marie
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Attempting to retrieve a target from memory via a retrieval cue can cause competition from the cue's associates, which might block the target. A 1994 study by Anderson, Bjork, and Bjork demonstrated retrieval-induced forgetting for competing associates and suggested that inhibitory control resolving competition causes the forgetting. A 2011 study by Storm, Angello, and Bjork found forgetting for incorrect associates following creative problem solving. This thesis investigated whether such forgetting is also the result of inhibitory control. Competition was manipulated by instructing participants to remember or forget incorrect associates before working on a Remote Associates Test problem. If problem-solving-induced forgetting is caused by inhibition, then to-be-remembered associates should suffer more forgetting than to-be-forgotten associates. Overall, forgetting occurred for incorrect associates participants were instructed to remember and forget. However, the first quartile of trials showed forgetting only for to-be-remembered associates following longer problem solving durations, suggesting a possible role of inhibitory control as an active means to overcome fixation in creative problem solving.