O'Sullivan, Noreen (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Proactive interference (PI), the negative impact of previously encoded information on the ability to represent current information that is similar in some way, has recently been shown to impair working memory (WM) performance. In this thesis, two types of interference were separated, one related to the content of encoded information, the other to contextual aspects of encoded information. Context-related interference was altered by a manipulation of context, and was related to a quadratic serial position curve. This type of interference was related to the process of recollection, and was argued to be mediated by an associative mechanism in WM. Content-related interference was altered by a manipulation of content. This type of interference was related to the process of familiarity, and is argued to be mediated by a binding mechanism in WM. A further differentiation between the two types of interference was demonstrated in their relationship to positive and negative schizotypy traits. Current theories of the relationship between PI and WM suggest that it is mediated by a unitary process or mechanism. The findings here demonstrate the validity of a dual-route description of this relationship. In addition, they show the potential of distinguishing between a binding mechanism and an associative mechanism within the WM system. Finally, they demonstrate how this distinction between binding and associating may benefit an understanding of the relationship between schizotypy traits and cognition.
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