Proactive interference in monkeys: Delay and intersample interval effects are noncomparable

Douglas L. Medin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-560
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Learning & Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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