Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 973–984

Reply to Farrell and Lewandowsky: Recency—contiguity interactions predicted by the temporal context model

Notes and Comment

DOI: 10.3758/PBR.16.5.973

Cite this article as:
Howard, M.W., Sederberg, P.B. & Kahana, M.J. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review (2009) 16: 973. doi:10.3758/PBR.16.5.973


Farrell and Lewandowsky (2008) argued that the temporal context model (TCM; Howard & Kahana, 2002) cannot explain nonmonotonicities in the contiguity effect seen at extreme lags. However, TCM actually predicts these nonmonotonicities to the extent that end-of-list context persists as a retrieval cue during recall and to the extent that end-of-list context generates a recency effect. We show that the observed nonmonotonicity in the contiguity effect interacts with the recency effect, as predicted by TCM. In conditions, such as immediate and continualdistractor free recall, that exhibit strong recency, one observes more prominent nonmonotonicities in the contiguity effect than in conditions, such as delayed free recall, that attenuate recency. The nonmonotonicities in the contiguity effect at extreme lags, and the interactions between recency and contiguity, result from the role of end-of-list context as a retrieval cue in TCM. Results of an additional simulation based on the Howard and Kahana (2002) version of TCM may be downloaded from

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© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologySyracuse UniversitySyracuse
  2. 2.Princeton UniversityPrinceton
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphia