Brief Reports

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 130-133

First online:

Incidental retrieval processes influence explicit test performance with data-limited cues

  • Reza HabibAffiliated withRotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric CareUniversity of Toronto Email author 
  • , Lars NybergAffiliated withRotman Research Institute, Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care


In two experiments, the influence of incidental retrieval processes on explicit test performance was tested. In Experiment 1, subjects studied words under four conditions (auditory-shallow, auditory-deep, visual-shallow, and visual-deep). One group of subjects received auditory and visual word-fragment completion; another group received auditory and visual word-fragment cued recall. Results indicated that changes in sensory modality between study and test reduced both recall and priming performances; levels of processing significantly affected only the cued recall test. These results indicated that incidental retrieval processes might affect explicit test performance when retrieval cues are data limited. Experiment 2 supported this conclusion by showing an effect of matching study and test modalities on explicit test performance with fragment but not with copy cues. Taken together, these results support Roediger and McDermott’s (1993) suggestion that explicit test performance is influenced by incidental retrieval processes when data-limited retrieval cues are used.