This study compared the effects of (+/-)3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, d-amphetamine, and cocaine on performance of rats in a delayed matching-to-sample procedure using a variety of indices of performance to determine the mechanism by which working memory task impairments arise. All 3 drugs produced an overall delay-independent decrease in accuracy rather than a delay-dependent increase in the rate of forgetting. This impairment arose as a result of current-trial choice responses being progressively more affected by responses made in the immediately preceding trial as drug dose increased. Therefore, all 3 drugs produced qualitatively similar disruptions in memory task performance best characterized as an impairment arising from proactive sources of interference.
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