Instructions to suppress semantic memory enhances or has no effect on P300 in a concealed information test (CIT)

Joel P Rosenfeld*, Anne Ward, Jesse Drapekin, Elena Labkovsky, Samuel Tullman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The present study investigated the extent to which people can suppress semantic memory as indexed with the P300 ERP and the autobiographical implicit association test (aIAT). In EXP 1, participants (22) were run in a counterbalanced repeated measures study in both simply knowledgeable (SK) and knowledgeable with suppression (SP) conditions. A P300-based, concealed information test (“Complex Trial Protocol” CTP) with a 50/50 Target/Nontarget (T/NT) ratio was given both with and without instructions to suppress semantic memories. The results showed increased P300s to probe name stimuli, reduced (but still high positive) aIAT d-scores, and increased simple reaction times to all stimuli used in ERP tests in the SP condition. EXP 2 was similar, but with SP and SK in two separate groups, and a 20/80 T/NT ratio. Again, ERP and aIAT results failed to show a suppression effect for semantic memory. The behavioral data suggest some task demand effects under suppression instructions, and that EXP 1 was more demanding than EXP 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Autobiographical implicit association test
  • Autobiographical memory
  • Complex trial protocol
  • Memory detection
  • Memory suppression
  • Neuroscience and law
  • P300

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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