In a lab experiment known as directed forgetting, participants were directly cued to forget certain information and recall others. Clinical diseases have been studied using volitional control over memory content, and good purposeful control of memory is a sign of a healthy mind. In contrast to words, it needed to be discovered how much of the content of visual long-term memory is subject to volitional forgetting. 

Various visual stimuli, such as abstract symbols, line drawings, and scenes, may not all be equally susceptible to voluntary control in memory, and intentional forgetting studies have demonstrated twice as much forgetting of pictures compared to words (think/no-think task) and half as much forgetting of pictures compared to words (directed forgetting task). Using item-method-directed forgetting methods, researchers comprehensively examined volitional control over images of commonplace items in the current investigation. 

They discovered that subjects might deliberately give visuals cued to be recalled priority over photos cued to be forgotten. They demonstrated that directed forgetting effects might be seen when utilizing images of common items (albeit to a lesser extent than when using words), indicating increasing confidence in the ability to generalize the research on directed forgetting to practical applications. However, unless the underlying mechanism generating the effect (upregulation of remember-cued items or downregulation of forget-cued items) was established, they warned against adopting purposeful memory control in clinical settings.