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Distinctiveness and Memory - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Distinctiveness and Memory

R. Reed Hunt and James B. Worthen


The basic laboratory technique for studying distinctiveness effect in memory is the isolation paradigm, a simple test in which a list of items is presented for memorization. All items except one are similar in some way. The different item always occurs late in the list, to allow the similarity of the preceding items to establish a context. Subsequent memory for the different item is always better than for the similar items. In 1948, Jenkins and Postman offered the intuitive-differential attention explanation to account for this difference in memory, that an item is remembered because it catche ... More

Keywords: distinctiveness, memory, isolation paradigm, memorisation, intuitive-differential attention, enhanced memory, isolation effect, Jenkins, Postman

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780195169669
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169669.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

R. Reed Hunt, editor
University of Texas, San Antonio

James B. Worthen, editor
Southeastern Louisiana University

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I Basic Issues

5 Reducing Memory Errors: The Distinctiveness Heuristic

Daniel L. Schacter, and Amy L. Wiseman

II Bizarreness

III Distinctiveness and Implicit Memory Tests

IV Distinctiveness and Memory Across the Life Span

V Distinctiveness in the Social Context

VI The Neuroscience of Distinctiveness and Memory

16 Neural Correlates of Incongruity

Pascale Michelon, and Abraham Z. Snyder

VII Denouement