Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Cognitive Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 98 pages) : illustrations (some color)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jeanette Altarriba

Committee Members

Rebecca L Johnson, Gordon G Gallup Jr.


emotion, emotion-laden, proactive interference, semantic, Recollection (Psychology), Short-term memory, Interference (Perception)

Subject Categories

Cognitive Psychology


Proactive interference (PI) occurs when the recall of newly learned information is blocked by previously learned information (e.g., recalling an old list of food items when trying to recall a current list of food items during grocery shopping). Release from PI occurs when newly learned information is recalled without interference from previously learned information. Release from PI has been observed when making changes to the to-be-remembered items. Experiment 1 found significant release from PI when category shifted from a neutral category to an emotion category or an emotion-laden category. Experiments 2 and 3 compared the release from PI when shifting between two neutral categories to shifting from a neutral category to an emotion category or emotion-laden category. Significant release from PI was observed for the neutral, emotion, and emotion-laden category shifts. Experiment 4 found shifting from an emotion category to an emotion-laden category led to significant release from PI. Experiment 5 found shifting from an emotion-laden category to an emotion category did not lead to a significant release from PI effect. Results are discussed with reference to the embodiment of emotional reactions and behaviors and theories that would describe the representation of emotion in human memory.