, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 577-581

Pictorial encoding reduces false recognition of semantic associates


High levels of false recognition can be observed after people study lists of semantic associates that all converge on a nonpresented lure word. To test the idea that encoding distinctive perceptual information would help to reduce false recognition, we presented a line drawing representing each associated word during study list presentation and later tested recognition of studied words and lure words. Two experiments revealed marked reductions in false recognition after pictorial encoding, relative after to word encoding. Results suggest that people reject related and unrelated lures because these items lack the distinctive qualities associated with remembered pictures.

These experiments are based on a senior thesis carried out by the first author under the supervision of the second author and were supported by National Institute on Aging Grant AG08441 and the Harvard College Research Fund. The authors thank Wilma Koutstaal and Ken Norman, Michele Leichtman, and Alfonso Caramazza for comments and suggestions, Mark Arimoto, Weston Taichiro Eguhi, and Jason Ng for help with preparation of pictorial materials, and Lissa Galluccio for help with preparation of the manuscript.