Title page for ETD etd-04062004-102152

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Starns, Jeffrey Joseph
URN etd-04062004-102152
Title The Effects of Internal and External Context Reinstatement on Source Memory
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jason L. Hicks Committee Chair
Janet McDonald Committee Member
Sean Lane Committee Member
  • recognition memory
  • context cues
  • source memory
Date of Defense 2003-10-27
Availability unrestricted
Memory for attended aspects of an encoded event (item memory) is facilitated when features of the encoding context are reinstated at test, indicating that item and context features are bound together in memory traces (Smith, 1979). The present study investigated whether reinstated contextual features similarly enhance memory for other contextual details of an event (source memory). Participants studied words that appeared on either the top or bottom of the computer screen in either a large or small font size. Following the study phase, participants completed a recognition/source test in which they had to indicate the location in which they studied each recognized word. The effects of external context reinstatement on location memory were evaluated by testing words in either the same font size in which they were studied or a mismatching font size. Location memory was not affected by the match of font-size features between encoding and retrieval. The effects of internal reinstatement of contextual details were evaluated by having participants report the contextual details that they recollected for each word that they recognized. Location memory was better when participants internally reinstated font-size information by recollecting this feature than in situations where contextual details were not recollected. Other details recollected from the encoding context were also associated with enhanced memory for location. This study demonstrates different effects of internal and external context reinstatement on source memory. Although recollecting font features was associated with enhanced location memory, font features reinstated as part of the test environment had no effect on location memory. Thus, the results provide only partial evidence that contextual features are bound to other contextual features.
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