Is Scent-Enhanced Memory Immune to Retroactive Interference?
Journal of Consumer Psychology 21 (2011) 354-361
8 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2015
Date Written: April 7, 2010
Research shows that scent enhances memory for associated information. Current debate centers around scent's immunity to “retroactive interference,” i.e., reduced memory for earlier-learned information after exposure to additional, subsequently-learned information. This paper demonstrates that scent-enhanced memory is indeed prone to retroactive interference, but that some of the information lost is restored using a scent-based retrieval cue. Two process explanations for interference effects are proposed, with the evidence providing more support for an inhibition rather than a response competition explanation. The results enhance our understanding of the encoding and retrieval of olfactory information from long-term memory, and reasons why interference occurs.
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