Working-Memory Capacity, Proactive Interference, and Divided Attention: Limits on Long-Term Memory Retrieval

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Michael J. Kane, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Two experiments examined how individual differences in working-memory capacity (WM) relate -to proactive interference (PI) susceptibility. We tested high and low WM-span participants in a PI-buildup task under single-task or dual-task ("load") conditions. In Experiment 1, a finger-tapping task was imposed during encoding anti retrieval of each list; in Experiment 2, tapping was required during encoding or retrieval. In both experiments, low spans showed greater PI than did high spans under no load, but groups showed equivalent PI under divided attention. Load increased PI only for high spans, suggesting they use attention at encoding and retrieval to combat N. In Experiment 2, only low spans showed a dual-task cost on List 1 memory, before PI built up. Results indicate a role for attentional processing, perhaps inhibitory in nature, at encoding and retrieval, and are discussed with respect to theories of WM and prefrontal cortex function.

Additional Information

Kane, M.J., & Engle, R.W. (2000). Working memory capacity, proactive interference, and divided attention: Limits on long-term memory retrieval. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 26, 336-358.
Language: English
Date: 2000
Working memory, Working memory capacity, Attention, Long-term memory

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