Title

Recognition Memory for Novel Stimuli: The Structural Regularity Hypothesis

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2007

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Early studies of human memory suggest that adherence to a known structural regularity (e.g., orthographic regularity) benefits memory for an otherwise novel stimulus (e.g., G. A. Miller, 1958). However, a more recent study suggests that structural regularity can lead to an increase in false-positive responses on recognition memory tests (B. W. A. Whittlesea & L. D. Williams, 1998). In the present study the authors attempted to identify the circumstances under which structural regularity benefits old–new discrimination and those under which it leads to an increase in false-positive responses. The highly generalizable tendency shown here is for structural regularity to benefit old–new discrimination. The increase in false-positive responses for structurally regular novel items may be limited to situations in which regularity is confounded with similarity to studied items.

Publication Title

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition

DOI

10.1037/0278-7393.33.2.379