Is Free Recall Actually Superior to Cued Recall? Introducing the Recognized Recall Procedure to Examine the Costs and Benefits of Cueing
Ozubko, Jason David
MetadataShow full item record
A vast literature and our own common sense tell us that free recall (i.e., recalling information without hints) is harder and less successful than cued recall (i.e., recalling information with hints). In this dissertation, I argue that in past work free and cued recall has not been directly comparable because cued recall procedures encourage guessing and the nature of the cues promotes accurate guesses. These biases often inflate cued recall performance above free recall, creating the illusion that cued recall is superior to free recall. To control for these issues, I introduce the recognized recall procedure. Recognized recall requires subjects to produce a word on every test trial and subsequently to recognize those produced words as “old” or “new.” Across eight experiments with recognized recall, it is demonstrated that cueing does help subjects produce more studied words than in free recall, however, subjects are often unable to recognize those extra words produced. Worse yet, false memories are observed to rise in all cases of cueing. Three subsequent experiments demonstrate that cueing fails to improve recall consistently because cues do not always cue the same meaning of the word as was encoded at study. A final experiment demonstrates that free associates of studied words produced by subjects can be highly effective at improving memory if used as cues at test. It is concluded that cues can improve memory if they are specific to the study episode but can often lead to a rise in false memories. Thus, in terms of consistently optimizing accurate recall while minimizing false memories, free recall may actually be superior to cued recall.