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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 2003 Sep;29(5):797-812.

What you get out of memory depends on the question you ask.

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  • 1The Key Centre for Human Factors and Applied Cognitive Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.


Following study, participants received 2 tests. The 1st was a recognition test; the 2nd was designed to tap recollection. The objective was to examine performance on Test 1 conditional on Test 2 performance. In Experiment 1, contrary to process dissociation assumptions, exclusion errors better predicted subsequent recollection than did inclusion errors. In Experiments 2 and 3, with alternate questions posed on Test 2, words having high estimates of recollection with one question had high estimates of familiarity with the other question. Results supported the following: (a) the 2-test procedure has considerable potential for elucidating the relationship between recollection and familiarity; (b) there is substantial evidence for dependency between such processes when estimates are obtained using the process dissociation and remember-know procedures; and (c) order of information access appears to depend on the question posed to the memory system.

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