, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 103-114

Repetition, cuing, and state-dependent memory


Two experiments examined the effects of several types of repetition on state-dependent memory for conceptually categorized words. In both experiments, compatibility between pharmacological states at encoding and at retrieval facilitated the uncued recall of nonrepeated categories but had no appreciable effect on the recall of words within recalled categories. In both experiments, compatibility between encoding/retrieval states failed to facilitate the uncued recall of repeated categories li.e., categories whose names and/or exemplars were presented at least twice, in a constant or variable order, and with substantial spacing between successive presentations). And again, in both experiments, the level of uncued recall was higher for repeated than for nonrepeated categories, irrespective of the compatibility or incompatibility of encoding/retrieval states. These findings, together with other relevant observations reported in the literature, suggest that repetition in general, and repetition of category names in particular, influences recall in much the same ways as does explicit cuing with category names: It enhances the accessibility of higher order units, as reflected in uncued category recall, and it diminishes to the extent to which access to these units is state dependent.

Preparation of this paper was facilitated by an intramural grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (via the Laboratory of Clinical Psychopharmacology) and by an extramural grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (National Alcohol Research Center Grant AA03506). Richard Stillman was instrumental in the performance of the first experiment, Doris Margolis ably assisted in the second, and Janet Metcalfe offered a cogent critique of both.