Composition of episodic memory

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Abstract

Investigated several attributes of memory: imagery, associative, acoustic, temporal, affective, and frequency. 200 undergraduates performed free recall, paired associates, serial, verbal discrimination, classical recognition, and memory span tasks, and 28 measures of episodic memory and 5 measures of semantic memory were obtained. Measures of episodic and semantic memory were generally unrelated, and clustering in episodic learning was unrelated to performance on other tasks. This was also true for the verbal-discrimination task and for a task measuring susceptibility to interference. 22 measures of episodic memory were included in a factor analysis from which 5 factors emerged. One factor was tied to free-recall tasks, another to paired-associate and serial tasks. Memory span, including span for digits and for letters of high and low acoustic similarity, constituted a 3rd factor. The 4th involved verbal-discrimination lists, and frequency assimilation and classical recognition constituted a 5th. The failure of attributes to form factors seems to have been due to 2 contrary forces: (1) Among tasks in which associative learning is required, individual differences in associative learning are so strong that any variation produced by attributes has little influence. (2) There was some evidence that experienced Ss can set aside attributes when use of attributes as a basis for responding produces interference. The presence of attributes in memory and the use of attributes for responding are independent matters. (31 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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