How we forget may depend on how we remember

Talya Sadeh, Jason D. Ozubko, Gordon Winocur, Morris Moscovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Recent developments reveal that memories relying on the hippocampus are relatively resistant to interference, but sensitive to decay. The hippocampus is vital to recollection, a form of memory involving reinstatement of a studied item within its spatial-temporal context. An additional form of memory known as familiarity does not involve contextual reinstatement, but a feeling of acquaintance with the studied items. Familiarity depends more on extrahippocampal structures that do not have the properties promoting resistance to interference. These notions led to the novel hypothesis that the causes of forgetting depend on the memories' nature: memories depending on recollection are more vulnerable to decay than interference, whereas for memories depending on familiarity, the reverse is true. This review provides comprehensive evidence for this hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-36
Number of pages11
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Decay
  • Familiarity
  • Forgetting
  • Hippocampus
  • Interference
  • Recollection

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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