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ERIC Number: EJ1087001
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Jan
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Two Are Not Better than One: Combining Unitization and Relational Encoding Strategies
Tu, Hsiao-Wei; Diana, Rachel A.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v42 n1 p114-126 Jan 2016
In recognition memory, "recollection" is defined as retrieval of the context associated with an event, whereas "familiarity" is defined as retrieval based on item strength alone. Recent studies have shown that conventional recollection-based tasks, in which context details are manipulated for source memory assessment at test, can also rely on familiarity when context information is "unitized" with the relevant item information at encoding. Unlike naturalistic episodic memories that include many context details encoded in different ways simultaneously, previous studies have focused on unitization and its effect on the recognition of a single context detail. To further understand how various encoding strategies operate on item and context representations, we independently assigned unitization and relational association to 2 context details (size and color) of each item and tested the contribution of recollection and familiarity to source recognition of each detail. The influence of familiarity on retrieval of each context detail was compared as a function of the encoding strategy used for each detail. Receiver operating characteristic curves suggested that the unitization effect was not additive and that similar levels of familiarity occurred for 1 or multiple details when unitization was the only strategy applied during encoding. On the other hand, a detrimental effect was found when relational encoding and unitization were simultaneously applied to 1 item such that a salient nonunitized context detail interfered with the effortful processing required to unitize an accompanying context detail. However, this detrimental effect was not reciprocal and possibly dependent on the nature of individual context details.
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 Institute of Mental Health (DHHS/NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: R00MH083945