Incongruous Item Generation Effects: A Multiple-Cue Perspective

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In a series of studies, generation effects were obtained under encoding conditions designed to induce incongruous, unrelated item generation. Experiments 1 and 2, using free- and cued-recall measures, respectively, provided evidence that this unrelated generation effect was due to response-specific processing. Experiment 3 demonstrated a lack of relation between free recall and indices of clustering. A preliminary protocol study suggested that Ss generate multiple items in their search for appropriate unrelated responses. In Experiments 4 and 5, conditions designed to produce more extensive multiple generations demonstrated enhanced free recall. These results supported a multiple-cue account of facilitated recall for incongruous item generation. The multiple-cue perspective is consistent with traditional conceptualizations of memory, such as the principle of congruity, and contemporary distinctions between cue-target relational and item-specific processing.

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