Release from output interference in recognition memory: A test of the attention hypothesis

Amy H. Criss, Cristina Salomão, Kenneth J. Malmberg, William Aue, Aslı Kılıç, Markavery Claridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Retrieval results in both costs and benefits to episodic memory. Output interference (OI) refers to the finding that episodic memory accuracy decreases with increasing test trials. Release from OI is the restoration of original accuracy at some point during the test. For example, a release from OI in recognition memory testing occurs when the semantic similarity between stimuli decreases midway through testing, suggesting that item representations stored on early trials cause interference on tests occurring on later trials to the extent that the earlier items share features with the latter items. In two recognition memory experiments, we demonstrate release from OI for words and faces. We also test whether release from OI is the result of interference or is due to a boost in attention caused by reorienting to a novel stimulus type. A test for the foils presented during the initial test list supports the interference account of OI. Implications for models of memory are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1081-1089
Number of pages9
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Episodic memory
  • faces
  • output interference
  • proactive interference
  • words

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Physiology (medical)


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