The Perception of Integrality: Remembering Through the Validation of Expectation

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Five experiments investigated the role of sentence context in influencing recognition decisions. Sentence stems were presented only in the study phase, only in the test phase, or in both; in addition, the coherence of the sentences was varied, such that terminal words were highly constrained by, merely consistent with, or actually incongruous with their stems. These stimulus combinations produced 4 unique patterns of response. These patterns are difficult to explain through encoding and retrieval alone; they seem also to require an understanding of the principles by which people react subjectively to their own processing. The results are discussed in terms of the differential effects of definite expectations developed in past experiences versus indefinite expectations developed in the moment of remembering.

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