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The memorability of names and the divergent effects of prior experience

Publiceringsår: 2008
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 312-345
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: European Journal of Cognitive Psychology
Volym: 20
Nummer: 2
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Psychology Press


Pre-experimental familiarity can have paradoxical effects on episodic memory. Knowledge of the stimulus domain usually enhances memory, but word frequency - a presumed correlate of prior experience - is negatively related to recognition accuracy. The present study examined episodic recognition of names and its relation to two measures of pre-experimental knowledge, name frequency, and fame. Frequency was operationalised as the number of hits in a national telephone directory, and fame as hits on national mass media websites. Recognition accuracy was increased by fame, but diminished by frequency. Four experiments confirmed the findings, using yes/no recognition, ROC curves, and remember-know paradigms. Hit rates were consistently more strongly influenced by fame than by frequency, whereas the reverse was true for false alarm rates. These dissociations suggest that two different forms of semantic memory, specific and nonspecific knowledge, interact with episodic memory in separate ways.


  • Neurology


  • Cognition, Communication and Learning
  • ISSN: 1464-0635

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