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Q J Exp Psychol A. 1998 Nov;51(4):705-33.

Determinants of positive and negative generation effects in free recall.

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FB I-Psychology, University of Trier, Germany.


Better retention of self-produced as opposed to experimenter-presented material is called generation effect; the reverse phenomenon is the negative generation effect. Both are found in intentional-learning experiments in which generating versus reading is manipulated between subjects. The present article presents an overview of those findings and aims at clarifying the conditions under which these effects emerge. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrate that if cue-target relations are manipulated within one list, a negative generation effect in free recall can be obtained for all items, no matter which cue-target relation they bear. In Experiment 3, cue-target relations were manipulated between lists. Here, a negative generation effect in free recall was found only in lists in which items were cued with words that mismatched the inter-target relations, whereas a positive generation effect was observed in those lists in which the generation cues matched the inter-target relations. A subsequent cued-recall test demonstrated that in cases of mismatch of relations, participants in the generate condition process cue-target relations at the expense of inter-target relations. The three-factor theory can be integrated with the task-demand account in a transfer-appropriate processing framework to accommodate these findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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