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ERIC Number: EJ1006904
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Feb
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 43
ISSN: ISSN-0096-3445
When Does a Good Working Memory Counteract Proactive Interference? Surprising Evidence from a Probe Recognition Task
Cowan, Nelson; Saults, J. Scott
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, v142 n1 p12-17 Feb 2013
It is often proposed that individuals with high working memory span overcome proactive interference (PI) from previous trials, saving working memory for task-relevant items. We examined this hypothesis in word-list probe recognition. We found no difference in PI related to span. Instead, ex-Gaussian analysis of reaction time showed speed advantages for high spans specific to short lists (3 or 4 items) but absent from longer lists (6 or 8 items). We suggest that high-span advantages in reaction time are based on finesse during easy trials, not on overcoming PI. (Contains 2 figures, 2 tables, and 1 footnote.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A