Predicting and postdicting the effects of word frequency on memory

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In the experiments reported here, I replicate and extend recent results that reveal that judgments about the memorability of common and uncommon words differ qualitatively depending on whether they are made during study or elicited during a recognition test (Guttentag & Carroll, 1998). When assessing recognition ability for individual words, subjects predict superior performance for common words, but postdict better performance for uncommon words. This interaction suggests that subjects rely on different cues when making judgments during study than they do when making analogous judgments during the recognition test, and that the cues utilized during recognition lead judgments to be more accurate. The shift is then evident in later predictions: Subjects who make postdictions consequently correctly predict superior recognition performance for uncommon words on a subsequent study list. When subjects are asked to make later predictions about recall performance, however, having made postdictions on a test of recognition does not mislead subjects into predicting superior recall performance for uncommon words.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-305
Number of pages9
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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