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Lustig, C., Hasher, L. (2001). Implicit memory is vulnerable to proactive interference. Psychological Science, 12, 408-412.


We investigated the possibility that implicit memory, like explicit memory, can be disrupted by proactive interference. Participants first viewed a list of words, with nontargets in the first half of the list and targets in the second. Nontargets were either similar in structure (e.g., "ANALOGY") or unrelated (e.g., "URGENCY") to the targets (e.g., "ALLERGY"). After several filler tasks, participants completed an implicit fragment-completion test (e.g., "A_L__ GY") for the target items. Participants who viewed similar nontargets completed fewer fragments with target items and made more intrusions than did participants who viewed unrelated nontargets. Together with previous findings, these results suggest that similar nontargets can compete with target items to produce interference in implicit memory.

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