Retroactive inhibition in free recall as a function of first- and second-list organization

Graeme H. Watts, Richard C. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Groups that received a high-organized 1st list (H), containing words in obvious categories, required significantly fewer trials to reach a criterion of 1 perfect recall than groups that received a low-organized list (L), composed of unrelated words. The intervening task consisted of 4 trials on 1 of 3 lists: HS, high-organized in the same categories as H; HD, high-organized but with different categories from H; or L2, a 2nd low-organized list. 2 control groups completed arithmetic problems. When successive lists involved similar organization, there was marked retroactive inhibition and a decline in the level of clustering. Measures of clustering and subjective organization during original learning were positively related to number of words recalled, except when 2 lists with similar organization were presented, in which case the relationship was negative. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-597
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1969
Externally publishedYes


  • free recall & retroactive inhibition, successive lists with same vs. different categories, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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