Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth A. Blick

Second Advisor

Dr. L. James Tromater

Third Advisor

Dr. Jane M. Berry


The following study examined the effects of positive and negative retrieval cues within a release from retroactive interference design. Predictions based upon a modification to the cue-overloading hypothesis were evaluated. Subjects were 79 Introductory Psychology students. They learned two lists, each composed of four-legged animals, and were tested for recall of the originally-learned list. Informed subjects were supplied with a retrieval cue for the interpolated list to provide a release from retroactive interference. All subjects were further divided into those who were released by becoming aware during original learning and those who were not. Comparisons revealed a reliable and comparable degree of release for both postinformation groups as well as the uninformed-aware group. Further, released subjects who used semantically-based (positive) retrieval cues exhibited a lower rate of forgetting over the two-week retention interval than those who used episodically-based (negative) cues, though the difference was nonsignificant. Implications for future research within a proposed theoretical framework are discussed.

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