AbstractRetroactive interference (RI)—the disruptive influence of events occurring after the formation of a new memory—is one of the primary causes of forgetting. Placing individuals within an environment that postpones interference should, therefore, greatly reduce the likelihood of information being lost from memory. For example, a short period of wakeful rest should diminish interference-based forgetting. To test this hypothesis, participants took part in a foreign language learning activity and were shown English translations of 20 Icelandic words for immediate recall. Half of the participants were then given an 8-min rest before completing a similar or dissimilar interfering distractor task. The other half did not receive a rest until after the distractor task, at which point interference had already taken place. All participants were then asked to translate the Icelandic words for a second time. Results revealed that retention was significantly worse at the second recall test, but being allowed a brief rest before completing the distractor task helped reduce the amount of forgetting. Taking a short, passive break can shield new memories from RI and alleviate forgetting.
CitationMercer, T. (2014) 'Wakeful rest alleviates interference-based forgetting', Memory 23 (2) p.27
PublisherTaylor & Francis
SponsorsERAS Scheme, University of Wolverhampton