According to the contextual change theory of memory loss, spontaneous forgetting reflects a retrieval impairment due to subtle and unprogrammed shifts in environmental cues over a retention interval. However, Riccio, Richardson, and Ebner (1984) noted an apparent paradox in this model; specifically, laboratory studies inducing explicit shifts in contextual cues found less disruption of performance as retention intervals increased. Bouton, Nelson, and Rosas (see record1999-10106-001) critiqued several of the claims made by Riccio et al. and concluded that the contextual cue theory is still a valid account of spontaneous forgetting. In this comment, the authors address the 3 major criticisms offered by Bouton et al., point out an inconsistency in their argument, and conclude that the original paradox still poses problems for the contextual change theory of forgetting.
Riccio, David C.; Richardson, Rick; Ebner, Debbie L (1999). The Contextual Change Paradox is Still Unresolved: Comment on Bouton, Nelson, and Rosas. Psychological Bulletin 125(2) 187-189. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.125.2.187. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/psycpubs/36