The present experiment examined whether forgetting of contextual attributes-the loss of discriminability of background stimulus features over time-also occurs when a memory remains inaccessible (amnestic) during the retention interval. Toexamine this issue, rats received an acute hypothermia treatment that caused reversible anterograde amnesia for a passive-avoidance task and were tested 1 or 7 days later in either the same or a different context. At the short retention interval, the subjects discriminated between the contexts, as evidenced by the finding that reversal of amnesia occurred only in the training context. However,at the 7-dayinterval, recovery of the avoidance response was induced in either context, reflecting the forgetting of differentiating characteristics. These findingsindicate that inaccessible memory remains susceptible to processes of modification and distortion that typically influence intact memories.
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review
Morgan, Russell E; Flint, Robert W.; Riccio, David C. (1998). Time-dependent Changes in Inaccessible Memory. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 5(3) 523-527. doi: 10.3758/BF03208832. Retrieved from https://oaks.kent.edu/psycpubs/39