Dr. Lili Sahakyan
University of Illinois
My program of research examines how people retrieve appropriate memories and exclude inappropriate ones by focusing on the role of context processing in intentional forgetting. Because we use context to retrieve information pertaining to our past, processes that alter our representations of context can enhance or diminish our capacity to retrieve particular memories. I will review behavioral findings on intentional forgetting, which have been traditionally explained in terms of inhibition, and suggest that by taking a different theoretical perspective, we can make progress on other memory phenomena. I will also present recent evidence from the eye-tracking studies and fMRI studies examining neural signatures of intentional forgetting. Finally, I will extend the research on intentional forgetting to individual differences, including studies with older adults, and non-clinical populations with vulnerability for mental illness.