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Mem Cognit. 1993 Sep;21(5):689-98.

Distinctiveness and serial position effects in recognition.

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Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1364.


Digitized photographs of snowflakes were presented for a recognition test after retention intervals of varying durations. While overall accuracy and discrimination remained constant, as the retention interval increased, primacy increased from chance to reliably better than chance while recency decreased to chance levels. A variation of Murdock's (1960) distinctiveness model accounted for the changing primacy and recency effects observed in both between- and within-subjects designs. The generality of the model was examined in two different paradigms: lexical access during sentence processing, and free recall in the continual distractor paradigm. In both cases, the model made accurate qualitative predictions for both latency and accuracy measures.

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