Associative symmetry of the memory for object-location associations as revealed by the testing effect.

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Erscheinungsjahr:
2008
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Text
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  • The nature of episodic associations has been subject to a long standing debate, where the two opposing positions postulate associations as either a holistic representation of the constituent elements or as independently modifiable pointers between them. In spite of a history of inconsistent findings, evidence in favour of the theory of symmetric associations has accumulated, yet only for verbal memory [Caplan, J. B., Glaholt, M. G., ; McIntosh, A. R. (2006). Linking associative and serial list memory: Pairs versus triples. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32(6), 1244-1265; Kahana, M. J. (2002). Associative symmetry and memory theory. Memory and Cognition, 30(6), 823-840]. Although object-location associations differ in several fundamental characteristics from verbal paired-associates, we recently found associative symmetry in the memory for this class of associations as well [Sommer, T., Rose, M., ; Büchel, C. (2007). Associative symmetry vs. independent associations in the memory for object-location associations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33(1), 90-106]. Due to the inconsistencies in the verbal literature, we felt it to be pertinent to confirm this finding using another experimental approach. Based on recent advances in understanding the effects of successive testing, we were able to make use of this knowledge and introduce this effect as an experimental manipulation in the study of associative symmetry. In particular, we investigated whether the influence of a prior memory test on a subsequent memory test differs when the same or opposite constituent element of an object-location paired-associate cues the retrieval on each test. We observed an identical testing effect for both conditions, which was exclusively driven by reminiscence, the recovery of previously inaccessible information. This finding lends strong support in favour of holistically or symmetrically represented object-location associations and suggests, given the verbal memory literature, a general principle of associative symmetry [Asch, S. E., ; Ebenholtz, S. M. (1962). The principle of associative symmetry. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 106, 135-163].
  • The nature of episodic associations has been subject to a long standing debate, where the two opposing positions postulate associations as either a holistic representation of the constituent elements or as independently modifiable pointers between them. In spite of a history of inconsistent findings, evidence in favour of the theory of symmetric associations has accumulated, yet only for verbal memory [Caplan, J. B., Glaholt, M. G., ; McIntosh, A. R. (2006). Linking associative and serial list memory: Pairs versus triples. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 32(6), 1244-1265; Kahana, M. J. (2002). Associative symmetry and memory theory. Memory and Cognition, 30(6), 823-840]. Although object-location associations differ in several fundamental characteristics from verbal paired-associates, we recently found associative symmetry in the memory for this class of associations as well [Sommer, T., Rose, M., ; Büchel, C. (2007). Associative symmetry vs. independent associations in the memory for object-location associations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 33(1), 90-106]. Due to the inconsistencies in the verbal literature, we felt it to be pertinent to confirm this finding using another experimental approach. Based on recent advances in understanding the effects of successive testing, we were able to make use of this knowledge and introduce this effect as an experimental manipulation in the study of associative symmetry. In particular, we investigated whether the influence of a prior memory test on a subsequent memory test differs when the same or opposite constituent element of an object-location paired-associate cues the retrieval on each test. We observed an identical testing effect for both conditions, which was exclusively driven by reminiscence, the recovery of previously inaccessible information. This finding lends strong support in favour of holistically or symmetrically represented object-location associations and suggests, given the verbal memory literature, a general principle of associative symmetry [Asch, S. E., ; Ebenholtz, S. M. (1962). The principle of associative symmetry. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 106, 135-163].
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oai:pure.atira.dk:publications/ce3b8ec6-d1fa-4b0e-baa8-a69e1befbd17