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Kane, M. J., & Hasher, L. (1995). Interference. In G. Maddox (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Aging, 2nd Edition (pp. 514-516). New York: Springer Publishing Co.


Extensive research within the verbal learning tradition identified interference as the primary cause of forgetting (Melton & Irwon, 1940). Research from this perspective dominated work on the aging of memory for some time (see Welford, 1958); however the rise of cognitive psychology in the 1970s triggered a paradigm shifts away from the issue of forgetting and from interference mechanism in particular. Cognitive gerontologists conducted a few interference studies, and the field turned toward information-prcessing themes such as encoding, storage and short-term versus long-term memory. Today, however, interference is of renewed interest, both in mainstream cognition and within cognitive gerontology, as at least one prominent view of cognitive aging predicts age differences in interference as a result of age difference in inhibitory capabilities (Hasher & Zacks, 1988; Zacks & Hasher, 1994): Converging evidence suggests that attentional inhibitory mechanisms that regulate the contents of working memory are impaired with aging. In this view, older adults are assumed to suffer from increased interference between relevant and irrelevant information that is simultaneously activated within working memory.

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