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Hongmi Lee, Juyoun Jung, Do-Joon Yi; Pre-experimental familiarity modulates the effects of item repetition on source memory. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):298. doi: 10.1167/12.9.298.
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Recent studies have reported conflicting findings on the effects of item repetition on item-source binding: Some demonstrated better source memory for repeated items than unrepeated ones, while others found negative relationship between the frequency of repetition and source memory accuracy. In order to reconcile such conflicting evidence, we investigated whether the degree of pre-experimental familiarity of items can be a factor that modulates the effects of repetition on source memory. In Experiment 1, we presented different groups of participants famous and nonfamous faces as pre-experimentally familiar and novel items. The experiment consisted of three successive phases: item repetition, item-source association, and source memory test. During the item repetition phase, a half of the famous or nonfamous faces were repeated eight times in a random order while participants were making male/female judgments. In the item-source association phase, both the repeated and the unrepeated faces appeared in one of the four locations on the screen one by one. Finally, during the source memory test, participants had to choose the location in which a given face was presented during the previous phase. As results, we found significant interaction between pre-experimental familiarity and repetition. Repetition impaired the location memory for pre-experimentally familiar items, while it led to greater memory accuracy for pre-experimentally novel items. We further replicated these results in Experiment 2, in which words and pseudowords were used as pre-experimentally familiar and novel items, indicating that the results are not specific to one type of stimuli. Taken together, our findings suggest that pre-experimental familiarity can modulate how repetition of an item affects the encoding and retrieval of detailed contextual information related to it, providing clues to elucidating how prior knowledge and new experience interact with each other to form episodic memory.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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