The "One-Shot" Hypothesis for Context Storage

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one shot hypothesis, context storage, implicit memory, list strength effect, free recall, context cueing al

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In 3 experiments motivated by the implicit memory literature, the authors investigated the effects of different strengthening operations on the list strength effect (LSE) for explicit free recall, an effect posited by R. M. Shiffrin, R. Ratcliff, and S. E. Clark (1990) to be due to context cuing. According to the one-shot hypothesis, a fixed amount of context is stored when an item is studied for at least 1 or 2 s. Beyond the initial context storage, increases in study time or different orienting tasks do not influence the amount of context that is stored, and thus only spaced repetitions should produce a positive LSE. Consistent with prior findings, spaced repetitions always produced a positive LSE, but increases in depth of processing, study time, and massed repetitions did not. A model implements the one-shot hypothesis, and a role for context storage as a link between episodic and semantic memory is discussed.

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Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, v. 31, issue 2, p. 322-336