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Poster D52

A Theory of Memory for Items and Associations

Poster Session D - Monday, April 15, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Beige Jin1 (, Michael J. Kahana2; 1University of California Berkeley, Department of Statistics, 2University of Pennsylvania, Department of Psychology

We present a retrieved-context theory of memory for items, associations, and their interaction (CMR-IA). Our theory assumes an evolving representation of temporal context that binds to items and associations, allowing the rememberer to make judgments based on the occurrence of a mnemonic target within a particular context. In addition to the assumptions inherited from prior retrieved-context theories, CMR-IA assumes a conjunctive (Gestalt) representation for paired associates, increased attention to rare items, and variable thresholds for recognition decisions. We apply CMR-IA to classic findings concerning recognition of items and associations, including effects of recency, similarity, receiver-operating characteristic curves, word frequency, differential forgettings of items and associations, and contiguity effects for successive probes. We next extend our model to cued recall phenomena, including serial position effects, distribution of correct responses and errors, contiguity effects, associative symmetry, and similarity effects. Fitting data from two new experiments, we show that CMR-IA can account for data on successive tests of item and associative information, as well as their dependencies. We see the success of CMR-IA as supporting the unification of context-based theories of item memory with Gestalt theories of associative memory.

Topic Area: LONG-TERM MEMORY: Episodic


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April 13–16  |  2024