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ERIC Number: EJ831495
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 65
ISSN: ISSN-0278-7393
Bridging the Gap: Transitive Associations between Items Presented in Similar Temporal Contexts
Howard, Marc W.; Jing, Bing; Rao, Vinayak A.; Provyn, Jennifer P.; Datey, Aditya V.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v35 n2 p391-407 Mar 2009
In episodic memory tasks, associations are formed between items presented close together in time. The temporal context model (TCM) hypothesizes that this contiguity effect is a consequence of shared temporal context rather than temporal proximity per se. Using double-function lists of paired associates (e.g., A-B, B-C) presented in a random order, the authors examined associations between items that were not presented close together in time but that were presented in similar temporal contexts. After learning, across-pair associations fell off with distance in the list, as if subjects had integrated the pairs into a coherent memory structure. Within-pair associations (e.g., A-B) were strongly asymmetric favoring forward transitions; across-pair associations (e.g., A-C) showed no evidence of asymmetry. While this pattern of results presented a stern challenge for a heteroassociative mediated chaining model, TCM provided an excellent fit to the data. These findings suggest that contiguity effects in episodic memory do not reflect direct associations between items but rather a process of binding, encoding, and retrieval of a gradually changing representation of temporal context. (Contains 6 figures, 2 tables and 7 footnotes.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York