Psychology ETDs

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This thesis discriminates between two hypotheses which have been proposed to account for the recall decrement frequently produced by recall cues when the cues are selected from the study list (intra-list cues). One hypothesis suggests that the recall decrement is produced by changes in the relative strengths of words in memory. The other hypothesis suggests that the recall decrement results from additional recall requirements that are placed upon the subject when recall is cued with intra-list cues. These hypotheses make different predictions about the persistence of the recall decrement. The first hypothesis predicts that the recall decrement should persist when the intra-list cues are removed. The second hypothesis predicts that the recall decrement should be restricted to those situations where the intra-list cues are present. To test these predictions, two experiments using the same basic design were run. After subjects had an opportunity to study a list of words, they were given most of the study words as recall cues and were asked to recall only the remaining words. Immediately following this test, they were given a second test on which all (Experiment I) or most (Experiment II) of the recall cues were removed. Experiment I differed from Experiment II in that the study list in Experiment I was made up of 30 "unrelated" nouns, while the study list in Experiment II was made up of 72 words that fell into nine different conceptual categories. Experiment II also included a within subject manipulation of the number of intra-list cues presented from a category. Both experiments found that the recall decrement produced by intra-list cues on the first test largely disappeared when the cues were removed on the second test. These results are inconsistent with the first hypothesis which claimed that the recall decrement was produced by changes in the relative strength of items in memory but are consistent with the second hypothesis which attributed the recall decrement to the additional recall requirements produced by intra-list cues.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Henry Carleton Ellis

Second Committee Member

John Paul Gluck Jr.

Third Committee Member

Thomas Patrick Friden



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Psychology Commons