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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Free recall: organization and long-term memory Schwartz, Robert Marc

Abstract

Free recall was examined In order to (1) examine the differences between the clustering of items from a list with an a priori structure and the subjective organization from a list of unrelated words and to (2) describe organizational processes in terms of theoretical constructs. Three sections of experiments found: (1) that two manipulations of organization of lists of unrelated words had asymmetric effects on recognition and recall performance; (2) that order of output and recall performance from two lists of unrelated words was predicted by similarity judgments data; and (3) that order of output from two specially-constructed lists was described by a hierarchical arrangement of categories. The data were interpreted as showing three commonalities between the clustering of items from a list with an a priori structure and the subjective organization from a list of unrelated words. These were: (1) asymmetric effects on recognition and recall can be produced by manipulations of both categorized and unrelated lists;(2) order of output can be predicted by similarity judgments data for both categorized and unrelated lists; and (3) free recall performance can be predicted by conformity to category structures for both categorized and unrelated lists. An informal model of free recall was proposed. The model had the following properties which were abstracted from the experiments: (1) the internal structure of organization was described as hierarchical; (2) the processing which results in this structure was based on similarities between items; and (3) the output was described as representing different processes dependent upon whether recall or recognition tests are used.

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