Dissociating early- and late-selection processes in recall: The mixed blessing of categorized study lists

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Güzel M. A. , Higham P. A.

MEMORY & COGNITION, vol.41, no.5, pp.683-697, 2013 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 41 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.3758/s13421-012-0292-3
  • Title of Journal : MEMORY & COGNITION
  • Page Numbers: pp.683-697


Two experiments are reported in which we used type-2 signal detection theory to separate the effects of semantic categorization on early- and late-selection processes in free and cued recall. In Experiment 1, participants studied cue-target pairs for which the targets belonged to two, six, or 24 semantic categories, and later the participants were required to recall the targets either with (cued recall) or without (free recall) the studied cues. A confidence rating and a report decision were also required, so that we could compute both forced-report quantity and metacognitive resolution (type-2 discrimination), which served as our estimates of early- and late-selection processes, respectively. Consistent with prior research, having fewer categories enhanced the early-selection process (in performance, two > six > 24 categories). However, in contrast, the late-selection process was impaired (24 > six = two categories). In Experiment 2, encoding of paired associates, for which the targets belonged to either two or 20 semantic categories, was manipulated by having participants either form interactive images or engage in rote repetition. Having fewer categories again was associated with enhanced early selection (two > 20 categories); this effect was greater for rote repetition than for interactive imagery, and greater for free recall than for cued recall. However, late selection again showed the opposite pattern (20 > two categories), even with interactive-imagery encoding, which formed distinctive, individuated memory traces. The results are discussed in terms of early- and late-selection processes in retrieval, as well as overt versus covert recognition.