Using what we know: Consequences of intentionally retrieving gist versus item-specific information

Wilma Koutstaal, Margaret Cavendish

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effect of a prior gist-based versus item-specific retrieval orientation on recognition of objects and words was examined. Prior item-specific retrieval increased item-specific recognition of episodically related but not previously tested objects relative to both conceptual- and perceptual-gist retrieval. An item-specific retrieval advantage also was found when the stimuli were words (synonyms) rather than objects but not when participants overtly named objects during gist-based recognition testing, which suggests that they did not always label objects under general gist-retrieval instructions. Unlike verbal overshadowing, labeling objects during recognition attenuated (but did not eliminate) test- and interference-related forgetting. A full understanding of how retrieval affects subsequent memory, even for events or facts that are not themselves retrieved, must take into account the specificity with which that retrieval occurs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)778-791
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Volume32
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2006

Keywords

  • Categorical memory
  • Episodic memory
  • Problem solving
  • Retrieval-induced forgetting
  • Thinking

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