Conditions for Retroactive Inhibition

  • A. A. Smirnov
Part of the Monographs in Psychology book series (MOPSY)


Retroactive inhibition is the negative effect of an activity following memorization on the retention of the material memorized. If memorization is followed by some other activity, recall of the material may not be as complete as when the memorization is followed by rest. This deterioration of recall is due to the “inhibitory” effect of the activity following the memorization. Therefore, the inhibition involved has been designated retroactive inhibition. Obviously, this “retroactive effect” cannot be interpreted literally as an influence on the actual process of memorization. By the time the next activity begins, this process has already been completed, and therefore we are dealing not with an influence on the process itself, but only on the “traces” resulting from the memorization.


Subsequent Activity Neural Element Preceding Activity Nonsense Syllable Subsequent Memorization 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Smirnov
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of PsychologyAcademy of Pedagogical SciencesMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Moscow State University and Moscow City Pedagogical InstituteRussia

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