Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gender Differences in Proactive, Retroactive, and No Interference Conditions

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Gender Differences in Proactive, Retroactive, and No Interference Conditions

Article excerpt

The objective of this study was to determine whether interference generates differential recall for men and women. Seventy-two (72) college students (36 men and 36 women; Mean age = 22.06 and 21.64 years respectively) studied lists of paired associate words and later completed a recall task. The result showed that interference generates differential recall for men and women, with women showing superior recall ability under the interference conditions. The result was interpreted in terms of showing support for the lateralization hypothesis. The second objective was to determine whether the ability to retrieve information from memory was worst under the proactive interference or retroactive interference conditions. Gender was collapsed over the two interference conditions and an AB - AD design was used to create interference in the experimental conditions. The result indicated that memory was worst under the proactive interference condition. The finding suggests that learned later disrupted recall of information that was studied previously more than vice versa. The paper concludes by providing some skills on how students can be more strategic about controlling their attentional capacities to reduce interference.

ITRODUCTION

People are sometimes faced with the frustrating experience of trying to remember information from memory, but not quite being able to do so. Retrieval failures seem to take many forms. There was one due to lack of attention to critical cues, which was referred to as absent mindedness (Schacter, 1999); there was also another as a result of physical trauma or amnesia (Fivush, 1998); and then, there was repression - the deliberate forgetting of information that might be emotionally painful to recall (Freud, 1957). Despite these many forms, two major mechanisms that have elicited active research as powerful sources of retrieval failure are decay and interference (Estes, 1998). The decay theory posited that when something new was learnt, the old memory trace tend to disintegrate. On the other land, the interference hypothesis maintained that learning one thing can interfere with learning another. The hypothesis argued that information get mixed up with, or pushed aside by other information and the information become harder to remember. The proponents of the interference hypothesis, for example, Jenkins and Dallenbach (1924) demonstrated that people forget, not because memories are actually lost from storage, but because other information get in the way of what are to-be-remembered (TBR).

It was not uncommon to be interrupted by someone expressing a tangential thought in the course of a conversation. Though the intervening time may be quite small, one may be unable to recall what one was justsaying. Hedden and Park (2001) examined whether there are disproportionate effects of interference with age in the working memory. Hedden and Park (2001) hypothesized that older adults should have problem deleting irrelevant information from working memory, leading to greater interference effect compared with younger adults. Thirty- two undergraduates (Mean = 22.53 years) and thirty- two community-dwelling seniors (Mean = 72.34 years) took a recognition test that measured both accuracy and reaction time. The result showed that senior adults consistently exhibited proportionally greater retroactive interference effects compared to younger adults. Patterns of recognition and reaction time data suggested that older adult's activation of target material was similar to younger adults, but they experience sustained activation of irrelevant material that has entered working memory.

Likewise, Wright and Wanley (2003) compared children and adult participants to determine whether stroop interference does or does not decrease with age. The stroop task - a task having two dimensions and participants respond to one dimension whilst ignoring the other - provides a natural experimental design to examining the effect of interference on recall. …

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