Medical decisions will often entail a broad search for relevant information. No sources alone may offer a complete picture, and many may be selective in their presentation. This selectivity may induce forgetting for previously learned material, thereby adversely affecting medical decision-making. In the study phase of two experiments, participants learned information about a fictitious disease and advantages and disadvantages of four treatment options. In the subsequent practice phase, they read a pamphlet selectively presenting either relevant (Experiment 1) or irrelevant (Experiment 2) advantages or disadvantages. A final cued recall followed and, in Experiment 2, a decision as to the best treatment for a patient. Not only did reading the pamphlet induce forgetting for related and unmentioned information, the induced forgetting adversely affected decisionmaking. The research provides a cautionary note about the risks of searching through selectively presented information when making a medical decision.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Medical information
- Memory accessibility
- Retrieval induced forgetting