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Can J Exp Psychol. 2002 Sep;56(3):200-7.

Age, time of testing, and proactive interference.

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  • 1University of Toronto.


A four-list version of a release from proactive interference paradigm was used to assess the degree to which older and younger adults tested at optimal and nonoptimal times of day are vulnerable to interference effects in memory, effects that may increase at nonoptimal times. Morning type older adults and Evening type younger adults were tested either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Standard buildup and release effects were shown for all age groups except for older adults tested in the afternoon; they failed to show release. Recall and intrusion data suggested that older adults are more vulnerable to proactive interference than younger adults and that for older adults at least, interference effects are heightened at nonoptimal times of day. The data are discussed in terms of an inhibitory model of control over the contents of working memory (Hasher, Zacks, & May, 1999).

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