Two prominent theories of proactive interference in animal memory predict that the effects of varying the interval between the interfering and to-be-remembered stimulus in a delayed-matching-to-sample paradigm ought to be comparable to the effects of manipulating the retention interval. To assess this prediction, monkeys were tested in a situation in which a sample was presented, followed by a variable intersample interval, whereupon a second sample was presented. After a delay interval, a choice test was given between the two stimuli that had served as samples. The correct choice was always the most recently presented sample stimulus, and the initial sample of a sequence provided a potential source of proactive interference. In two experiments, delay interval altered performance, whereas interstimulus interval had little or no effect. In a third experiment, using a small set of sample stimuli, intertriai interval altered proactive interference, but again interstimulus interval had no effect. One way of accounting for these data is in terms of distinct short- and long-term memory processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Behavioral Neuroscience