NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1056039
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Parametric Effects of Word Frequency in Memory for Mixed Frequency Lists
Lohnas, Lynn J.; Kahana, Michael J.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v39 n6 p1943-1946 Nov 2013
The "word frequency paradox" refers to the finding that low frequency words are better recognized than high frequency words yet high frequency words are better recalled than low frequency words. Rather than comparing separate groups of low and high frequency words, we sought to quantify the functional relation between word frequency and memory performance across the broad range of frequencies typically used in episodic memory experiments. Here we report that both low frequency and high frequency words are better recalled than midfrequency words. In contrast, we only observe a low frequency advantage when participants were given a subsequent item recognition test. The U-shaped relation between word frequency and recall probability may help to explain inconsistent results in studies using mixed lists with separate groups of high and low frequency words.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (DHHS)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: MH55687