There has been a growing interest in intentional or direct forgetting in recent years. Intentional forgetting, considered as an experimental paradigm in the study of cognitive inhibition, is defined as a motivated attempt to limit the expression of a mnesic content. When this active, intentional attempt of forgetting is targeting some traumatic information, it has a defensive function. Another function of intentional forgetting is to limit the access of irrelevant information to working memory. Using intentional forgetting as a working paradigm, the present paper analyses the variation of the counter - intentional effect (the occurrence of a contrary result to the one expected) under the circumstances of a cognitive load that is parallel to emotionally charged stimuli. Our results reveal that: a) in the conditions of simultaneous task, the process of intentional forgetting is impaired because of counterintentional effect; b) intentional forgetting for negative and neutral items is strongly deteriorated by the presence of the secondary cognitive task; by contrast, for positive items, we have founded an opposite effect.
Keywords: intentional forgetting, counterintentional effect, cognitive inhibition