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Psychon Bull Rev. 2015 Jun;22(3):772-8. doi: 10.3758/s13423-014-0737-8.

Effects of prestudy and poststudy rest on memory: Support for temporal interference accounts of forgetting.

Author information

1
School of Psychology (M304), University of Western Australia, Perth, 6009, Western Australia, Australia, ullrich.ecker@uwa.edu.au.

Abstract

According to interference-based theories of memory, including temporal-distinctiveness theory, both prestudy and poststudy rest should have beneficial impacts on memory performance. Specifically, higher temporal isolation of a memorandum should reduce proactive and/or retroactive interference, and thus should result in better recall. In the present study, we investigated the effects of prestudy and poststudy rest in a free recall paradigm. Participants studied three lists of words, separated by either a short or a long period of low mental activity (a tone-detection task). Recall targeted the second list; this list was studied in one of four conditions, defined by the fully crossed factors of prestudy and poststudy rest duration. Two experiments revealed a beneficial effect of prestudy rest (and, to a lesser extent, of poststudy rest) on list recall. This result is in line with interference-based theories of memory. By contrast, a beneficial effect of prestudy rest is not predicted by consolidation accounts of memory and forgetting; our results thus require additional assumptions and/or a better specification of the consolidation process and its time course in order to be reconciled with consolidation theory.

PMID:
25257711
DOI:
10.3758/s13423-014-0737-8
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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