Reducing Retroactive Interference through the Use of Different Encoding Techniques: An Exploration of Pre-Test/Post-Test Analyses

John McClure Cumming, Michael A. De Miranda


Retroactive interference (RI) in list learning occurs when the learning of a second list of words interferes with the recall of the first learned list. Having the lists be thematically different can reduce retroactive interference within list learning; however, this study demonstrates how RI can be reduced when the lists contain similar words. Words can be organized by way of encoding (verbally and visually). Interference occurs when two lists are encoded the same way; therefore, encoding two lists in different ways reduces RI. Ninety-three participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 6 conditions. Participants who encoded one list visually and one list verbally retained more words on final recall from list one, than participants who encoded both list the same way. Two control conditions were used to assess highest recall. The results demonstrated that RI can be reduced when two lists are encoded in different ways. A second experiment using modified methods was also conducted with similar results.

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International Journal of Higher Education
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