Testing During Study Insulates Against the Buildup of Proactive Interference

Karl K. Szpunar, Kathleen B. McDermott, Henry L. Roediger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

205 Scopus citations


Recent interest in the benefits of retrieval practice on long-term retention-the testing effect-has spawned a considerable amount of research toward understanding the underlying nature of this ubiquitous memory phenomenon. Taking a test may benefit retention through both direct means (engaging appropriate retrieval processes) and indirect means (fostering directed study). Here the authors report 4 experiments demonstrating a novel benefit of testing. Extended study sessions cause a buildup of proactive interference, but interpolating tests during the study sequence insulates against this negative influence. These findings highlight a unique benefit of testing and have important implications for study strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1392-1399
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2008


  • cue overload
  • list discrimination
  • proactive interference
  • source monitoring
  • testing effect


Dive into the research topics of 'Testing During Study Insulates Against the Buildup of Proactive Interference'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this