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Context effects in episodic studies of verbal and facial memory: A review

Abstract

Memory research has in the last fifteen years been marked by a considerable interest in context effects. This review begins by examining experimental manipulations of verbal and environmental context in verbal memory. This is followed by a more extensive review of episodic studies of face recognition that have examined the effects of varying the background in which a face is portrayed, the room of testing, and the presence of guided instructions. The relevance of these findings to eyewitness memory is also considered. Discrepancies in the literature are pinpointed with theoretical discussion centering around encoding specificity theory (Tulving & Thomson, 1973) and Baddeley and Woodhead’s (1982) distinction between “independent” (extrinsic) and “interactive” (intrinsic) context effects. The review ends with an evaluation of some recent models of memory and face recognition in an attempt to provide a framework within which to interpret the context effects in the literature.

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Memon, A., Bruce, V. Context effects in episodic studies of verbal and facial memory: A review. Current Psychology 4, 349–369 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02686589

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Keywords

  • Face Recognition
  • Recognition Memory
  • Free Recall
  • Context Effect
  • Environmental Context