Sources of interference in recognition testing

Jeffrey Annis, Kenneth J. Malmberg, Amy H. Criss, Richard M. Shiffrin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Recognition memory accuracy is harmed by prior testing (a.k.a., output interference [OI]; Tulving & Arbuckle, 1966). In several experiments, we interpolated various tasks between recognition test trials. The stimuli and the tasks were more similar (lexical decision [LD] of words and nonwords) or less similar (gender identification of male and female faces) to the stimuli and task used in recognition testing. Not only did the similarity between the interpolated and recognition tasks not affect recognition accuracy but performance of the interpolated task caused no interference in subsequent recognition testing. Only the addition of recognition trials caused OI. When we presented a block of LD trials or gender identification trials before the recognition test, a decrease in accuracy was observed in the subsequent recognition tests. These results suggest a distinction between temporal context and task context, such that recognition memory performance is determined by the salience of the context cues, and the use of temporal context cues is associated with OI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1365-1376
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Context
  • Output interference
  • Recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Sources of interference in recognition testing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this