Inter-item associations and memory for order
Jonker, Tanya R.
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Remembering the order in which a sequence of events occurred can be an invaluable function of memory. Although important, the quality of memory for order information has been shown to be significantly affected by the way in which the information was encoded. That is, some encoding conditions lead to better memory for order than others. This dissertation presents a systematic examination of the features of encoding tasks that disrupt memory for order. Chapter I examines the effects of semantic versus non-semantic processing, item-specific versus item-generic processing, and item-specific versus relational processing on memory for order, revealing that any type of response-required task disrupts memory for order, unless that task is relational in nature. Chapter II examines the role of processing time in the disruption of memory for order and demonstrates that preserving response-free study time benefits memory for order, suggesting that response tasks disrupt memory for order because they take time away from the encoding of relational information. Chapter III introduces a novel procedure for examining memory for order—an order recognition task—which provides a new method for testing relational memory, allowing for conceptual replications and enhancing the generalizability of findings surrounding encoding tasks and memory for order. Taken together, the experiments in this dissertation demonstrate that poor memory for order is the direct result of reduced time for processing inter-item relations.