Which Route to Recovery?: Controlled Retrieval and Accessibility Bias in Retroactive Interference Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • New learning often interferes with the production of older, previously learned responses. However, the original responses usually appear to spontaneously recover and regain their dominance after a delay. This article takes a new approach to questions of interference and recovery by examining performance on immediate and delayed tests using direct or indirect instructions. Direct instructions asked participants to deliberately retrieve the original responses, and indirect instructions allowed them to respond on a more automatic basis, using whatever response came to mind first. Results suggest that interference and recovery may have their largest effects via relatively automatic influences on memory, such as the accessibility of new versus original information. This finding adds a new perspective to classic theories of interference and recovery, and may also inform current understanding of performance in populations (e.g., older adults) that often rely predominantly on automatic memory processing.

publication date

  • November 1, 2004