Retroactive inhibition of meaningful discourse

Richard C. Anderson, David L. Myrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigated retroactive inhibition with prose passages in 2 experiments involving 297 high school students. In each case, retroactive inhibition was observed where consecutive passages entailed similar stimuli and competing responses while retroactive facilitation appeared where the passages involved both similar stimuli and similar responses. Previous failures to find retroactive inhibition with prose are attributed to the mixing of test items, some of which were facilitated, some of which were inhibited, and some of which were unaffected. Results match expectations from interference theory fairly closely, except that multiple-choice items were more subject to retroactive inhibition than short-answer items, suggesting that response competition is a more important factor than response unavailability in retroactive inhibition with prose. (24 ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-94
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Educational Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1971


  • retroactive inhibition of meaningful discourse, high school students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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