This contribution focuses on neurophysiological correlates of the cerebral processes subserving the control of proactive interference. Event-related negative shifts of the scalp-recorded cortical steady potential (negative DC shifts) were measured in 17 right-handed normals during two tasks of paired associate learning. The control condition was a standard word pair learning task in which unrelated word pairs were presented. In the experimental condition, proactive interference was maximized by presenting very similar words and by requiring negative transfer, i.e., by having them reappear, but in different pairings. Proactive interference leads to increased anterior frontal negative DC shifts. Furthermore, centrotemporal negative DC shifts predicted subsequent cued recall performance. In spite of elaborative strategies, an effect of subsequent mnestic performance on the P300 was observed.

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