Interference between Cognitive Skills

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This study used a novel task, clock arithmetic, and a classic A-B/A-Br transfer design to investigate the presence of interference between cognitive skills. The A-B/A-Br design required participants to first learn problem-to-answer associations during training and then to learn new pairings between the same problems and answers during transfer. The associations learned during training interfered with those learned during transfer, as measured by slowed reaction times to emit the correct response, failures to retrieve any response, and intrusion errors. Interference persisted even after a 1-week retention interval and was especially prevalent during the warm-up period at the beginning of the retention test The use of the A-B/A-Br design indicates that whether an incorrect answer retrieved from memory is emitted as a response depends on whether the intrusion is recognized as inappropriate for the current task. The long-term memory for cognitive skills means that attempts to learn new responses to old stimuli will be plagued by persistent intrusion errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-469
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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