The importance of time to think back: The role of reminding in retroactive effects of memory.
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Change has been described as detrimental for later memory for the original event in research on retroactive interference. Popular accounts of retroactive interference treat learning as the formation of simple associations and explain interference as due to response competition, perhaps along with unlearning or inhibition of the original response. By such accounts, providing additional study time for a changed response in a classic A-B, A-D learning paradigm should increase retroactive interference. In contrast, our experiments show that changing a response produces retroactive facilitation rather than retroactive interference but that outcome requires that the change be detected in the form of a reminding. When reminding does not occur, retroactive interference is observed. Increasing time to study the changed response increases the likelihood of being reminded. Accounts in terms of simple associations cannot explain the importance of reminding. We do so by assuming that being reminded results in a recursive representation that includes both the original and changed response along with the order in which they occurred. We discuss the importance of our results for application as well as for theory. (PsycINFO Database Record
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