Integrated knowledge in different tasks: The role of retrieval strategy on fan effects

Lynne M. Reder, Brian H. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research has shown that the fan effect (the occurrence of slower RTs to verify facts when more are studied on a topic) is attenuated when thematically related facts are used. This alleviation of interference occurs only when Ss can use consistency judgments instead of direct retrieval to make recognition judgments. In this experiment, 34 college students were shown sets of facts about various characters and were asked to demonstrate that they knew which facts went with each character. In the 3rd phase, RTs were recorded as Ss made recognition judgments with thematically related foils, recognition judgments with unrelated foils, and consistency judgments; some special trials also required judgments. It was found that knowing additional facts relevant to the test fact could actually speed judgment times when Ss were asked whether the test fact was consistent with what was known rather than if it had been studied. The same Ss displayed 3 different RT functions for the same memory items when they performed in 3 test blocks intended to invoke 3 different strategies. Unlike simple fan, the greater the number of topics studied with a character, the longer Ss took to respond, regardless of the strategy used in that test block. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-72
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1983
Externally publishedYes


  • RT, college students
  • consistency judgments &
  • thematically related vs unrelated facts, attenuation of fan effect &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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