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Br J Soc Psychol. 1992 Jun;31 ( Pt 2):81-109.

Memory for schema-relevant information: a meta-analytic resolution.

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Faculteit der Psychologie, Universiteit van Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


The research on memory for schema-relevant information has produced sharply contradictory results. Some studies demonstrate memory selectivity for schema-consistent information, others demonstrate memory selectivity for schema-inconsistent information. Meta-analytic procedures are applied to a sample of 60 independent studies with 165 comparative tests. The overall result shows a slight overall memory advantage for schema-inconsistent information. As the effect sizes are highly heterogeneous, it was hypothesized that schema-based processing is moderated by an array of variables. In large part the direction of the effect is dependent on the memory measure used. Both recognition tests corrected for guessing and recall tests reveal consistently better memory for schema-inconsistent information. But recognition tests uncorrected for guessing consistently uncover better memory for schema-consistent information. In addition, several moderators derived from Wyer & Srull's (1989) Associative Network model of person memory influence the amount of inconsistent information recalled. Processing demands, length of exposure to inconsistent information, delay between presentation of the stimulus and the memory test, proportion of inconsistent items, order of schema-presentation, degree of inconsistency and importance of categories to subjects all had significant impacts on inconsistency resolution. Most of these moderator effects support the Wyer-Srull model; but several of its contentions are called into question. In particular, inconsistency resolution emerges as a more robust consequence than schema-bolstering of longer stimulus exposure and delays between exposure and memory test. The results are compared with a similar meta-analysis, then discussed in relation to the possibilities for stereotype change.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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