The improvement of memory performance is an ever-growing interest in research, with implications in many fields. Thus, identifying strategies to enhance memory and attenuate memory interference is of great public health and personal interest. The objective of this paper was to evaluate the role of intensity-specific acute exercise on improving paired-associative memory function and attenuating memory interference. A counterbalanced, randomized controlled, within-subject experimental design was employed. The three counterbalanced visits included a control visit, moderate-intensity exercise (50% of HRR; heart rate reserve) and vigorous-intensity exercise (80% of HRR), all of which occurred prior to the memory assessment. To evaluate memory interference, an AB/AC paired-associative task was implemented for each laboratory visit. The number of correctly recalled words from List 1 (AB–DE) was statistically significantly (F = 4.63, p
= 0.01, η2p
= 0.205) higher for the vigorous-intensity condition (M = 6.53, SD = 1.54) as compared to moderate-intensity (M = 6.11, SD = 1.59) and control (M = 5.00, SD = 2.56) conditions. No statistical significance was found between proactive interference or retroactive interference across the experimental conditions. This experiment provides evidence for an intensity-specific effect of acute exercise on short-term, paired-associative memory, but not memory interference.
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