Memory consequences of looking back to notice change: Retroactive and proactive facilitation.
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Three experiments contrasted recollection of change with differentiation as means of avoiding retroactive interference and proactive interference. We manipulated the extent to which participants looked back to notice change between pairs of cues and targets (A-B, A-D) and measured the effects on later cued recall of either the first or second response. Two lists of word pairs were presented. Some right-hand members of pairs were changed within List 2, whereas others were changed between lists. Participants in a Within-List Back condition were instructed to detect changes that occurred only during List 2, in an effort to reduce noticing changes in pairs between lists while simultaneously differentiating the 2 lists. In contrast, participants in an N-Back condition were instructed to detect both within-list and between-list changes. Recall of first list responses that changed between lists produced retroactive facilitation for the N-Back condition but not for the Within-List Back condition. Similarly, recall of second list responses that changed between lists produced proactive facilitation for the N-Back condition but not for the Within-List Back condition. The greater extent of looking back increased detection of change and later recollection of change, which produced facilitation. When change was not recollected, detected change produced proactive interference. The recursive reminding produced when change is noticed contrasts with the simple associations of classic interference theory, and memory performance when change is recollected contrasts with the predictions of interference theory.
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