Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Proactive Interference and Cuing Effects in Short-Term Cued Recall: Does Foil Context Matter?

Academic journal article Memory & Cognition

Proactive Interference and Cuing Effects in Short-Term Cued Recall: Does Foil Context Matter?

Article excerpt

Tehan and Humphreys's (1995, 1996) short-term cued recall paradigm showed that recall in short-term memory is cue driven. In critical trials, the participants studied two blocks of four words each and were required to forget the first block while remembering the second block. A foil in the first block (e.g., orange) was related to a target (e.g., carrot) in the second block. Proactive interference (PI) was evident when a retrieval cue was used that subsumed the foil and the target (e.g., type of juice), but not when a cue was used that subsumed only the target (e.g., type of vegetable). Four experiments were performed to examine the extent to which contextual organization in the foil block would enhance or diminish the foil's efficacy in creating PI. A novel condition was included in which the words in the foil block were studied in a phonologically related context but the target was cued semantically, and vice versa with a semantic context and phonological cue. There were no differences in recall accuracy between conditions with and without contextual organization, but reliable increases in foil intrusions were observed when contextual organization was present Contextual organization enhanced the foil, rather than diminished it, but the strengthened foil generated PI only when the cue subsumed the foil and the target and had no effect when the cue subsumed only the target. The results are consistent with a cue-driven retrieval interpretation of short-term recall.

A recent review of contemporary research in short-term memory (STM) has argued for a reconceptualization of short-term recall as a cue-driven process (Nairne, 2002b). This is contrasted with the traditional view of STM, dubbed the standard model by Nairne (2002b), in which recall is driven primarily by rehearsal processes countering the effects of decay over time (e.g., Baddeley, 2000; Baddeley & Hitch, 1974). Recasting short-term recall as a cue-driven process brings the conceptualization of STM closer to what is known about retrieval and forgetting processes in long-term memory (LTM), where interference, and not decay (cf. McGeoch, 1932), is seen as the primary cause of forgetting.

The bulk of the evidence against the standard model has come from studies demonstrating LTM contributions in STM tasks. For example, such attributes of words as frequency (e.g., Hulme et al., 1997; Roodenrys & Quinlan, 2000), lexicality (e.g., Hulme, Maughan, & Brown, 1991), phonological neighborhoods (e.g., Goh & Pisoni, 2003; Roodenrys, Hulme, Lethbridge, Hinton, & Nimmo, 2002), phonotactics (e.g., Gathercole, Prankish, Pickering, & Peaker, 1999), and semantics (e.g., Bourassa & Besner, 1994; Walker & Hulme, 1999) influence immediate serial recall performance. It has been suggested that these attributes can be used as effective retrieval cues in a redintegration or clean-up process to reconstruct STM traces from LTM in the event that a direct readout from STM cannot be achieved due to trace degradation (e.g., Nairne, 1990; Schweickert, 1993).

The efficacy of retrieval cues in short-term recall can also be inferred from studies in which the organization of words within and across lists was manipulated. Poirier and Saint-Aubin (1995) showed that when words within a list are derived from the same conceptual class (e.g., musical instruments) and the conceptual class changes across lists, immediate recall is better, in comparison with a condition in which each word is from a different conceptual class. This pattern of results has been replicated with rhyme categories (e.g., Fallen, Groves, & Tehan, 1999), which is an interesting finding, given that phonological similarity typically leads to poorer recall (Conrad & Hull, 1964). However, both categorical and phonological similarity have also been shown to enhance performance in order reconstruction tasks (e.g., Nairne & Kelley, 1999; Nairne & Neumann, 1993), particularly when similarity is maintained within lists but not across lists. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.