The role of horizontal categorization in retroactive and proactive interference

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Four paired-associate experiments with a total N of 291 participants investigated the effects of horizontal categorization on retroactive and proactive interference. (Exclusively) horizontal categorization means that unique categorical relationships hold across the A-B and A-C stimulus-response pairs of successive word lists (e.g., fruit-pear, river-Thames, in list 1; and fruit-plum, river-Wolga, in list 2). Experiment 1 found no significant amounts of interference with this type of list organization. However, strong interference arose with the same materials when the categorical structure was destroyed in Experiment 2. A third experiment contrasted two alternative explanations for these results, and Experiment 4 replicated the effect of horizontal categorization (vs. no categorical relationship) in a within-participants design. The results of the four experiments largely fit with a response competition explanation proposed by Bower, Thompson-Schill, and Tulving (1994), adapted to the within-participants designs used here. Overall, the present findings add to a body of evidence demonstrating limits to retroactive and proactive interference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-207
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of horizontal categorization in retroactive and proactive interference'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this