Attribute amnesia reflects a lack of memory consolidation for attended information

Hui Chen, Brad Wyble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


A recently reported phenomenon, Termed attribute amnesia, challenged the commonly held belief that attention plays the determining role in controlling how information is remembered, by showing that participants fail to remember a specific attended attribute (e.g., the target-defining color), even when they had just used that attribute to perform a task (Chen & Wyble, 2015a). The main purpose of the present study sought to better understand the mechanism underlying this phenomenon. The results revealed that attribute amnesia was nearly eliminated once participants were forced to store and hold attended information for a brief time, suggesting that this amnesia effect most likely reflects a lack of memory consolidation for an attended attribute that had been processed to some certain level. In addition, we demonstrated that the effect is not particular to the use of location report or the repetition of targets. One additional finding is that amnesia was markedly absent for location memory, indicating an important difference between memories for locations and attributes such as color or identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-234
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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