Although a number of theoretical accounts of proactive interference (PI) in episodic memory have been proposed, existing empirical evidence does not support conclusively a single view yet. In two experiments we tested the predictions of the temporal discrimination theory of PI against
alternative accounts by manipulating the presentation schedule of study materials (lists blocked by category vs. interleaved). In line with the temporal discrimination theory, we observed a clear buildup of (and release from) PI in the blocked condition, in which all the lists of the same
category were presented sequentially. In the interleaved condition, with alternating lists of different categories, a more gradual and smoother buildup of PI was observed. When participants were left free to choose their presentation schedule, they spontaneously adopted an interleaved schedule,
resulting again in more gradual PI. After longer delays, we observed recency effects at the list level in overall recall and, in the blocked condition, PI-related effects. The overall pattern of findings agrees with the predictions of the temporal discrimination theory of PI, complemented
with categorical processing of list items, but not with alternative accounts, shedding light on the dynamics and underpinnings of PI under diverse presentation schedules and over different time scales.
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
Document Type: Research Article
Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden
Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy
Department of Psychology and Cognitive Sciences, University of Trento, Trento, Italy
May 28, 2018