The nature of semantic savings for items forgotten from long-term memory

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Seven experiments with 245 undergraduates investigated various kinds of semantic information that potentially could be saved in a nonrecalled memory trace. Exp I showed a lack of reliable savings for both synonymic information (e.g., despises-hates) and antonymic information (e.g., loves-hates). Exp II yielded reliable savings for both superordinate information (e.g., Buick-car) and subordinate information (e.g., vehicle-car). Exp III suggested that information is saved about some (i.e., more than one, but not all) subordinates of the originally learned item. Exp IV extended the lack of synonymic savings to 3 parts of speech: verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Exp V showed that the lack of synonymic savings occurred not only when acquisition was via verbatim recall, but also when acquisition was via gist recall. Exp VI extended this finding by demonstrating a lack of synonymic savings even when the learner, studying for gist recall, was forced to generate a synonym of each item on every acquisition study trial. Exp VII yielded a lack of reliable savings for associative information (e.g., table-chair). It is proposed that only semantic information at greater and lesser degrees of inclusion (than the originally learned item) is saved in the memory trace during forgetting. (62 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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