Memory & Cognition

, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp 759–762 | Cite as

Effects of generative processes on probe identification time

  • John G. Seamon


Studies of character classification have shown that reaction time is reduced when the probe is the same as the last-rehearsed target item. If rehearsal functions as a generative process to reduce response time by stimulus activation, comparable results should be obtained if the task is changed from probe classification to probe naming. A letter identification baseline was obtained in Session 1 where subjects named single probe letters as quickly as possible. In Sessions 2 and 3, each probe letter was preceded by a target of three to five letters, which were rehearsed individually prior to the probe, and subjects reported their last rehearsal after naming the probe. The results showed that (1) naming latencies were longer in Sessions 2 and 3 than in Session 1, suggesting that rehearsal requires conscious attention; (2) letter probes that matched the last-rehearsed target item were named faster than those that were different; (3) when performance was examined in terms of the rehearsal distance between the target items and probe, target set size had no effect on probe identification time. Generative processes were suggested to influence probe encoding time through stimulus preprocessing.


Probe Naming Stimulus Probability Naming Latency Probe Classification Stimulus Quality 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Biederman, I., &Stacy, E. W., Jr. Stimulus probability and stimulus set size in memory scanning.Journal of Experimental Psychology. 1974,102, 1100–1107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Eichelman, W. H. Stimulus and response repetition effects for naming letters at two response-stimulus intervals.Perception & Psychophysics, 1970,7, 94–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hinrichs, J. V., &Craft, J. L. Verbal expectancy and probability in two-choice reaction time.Journal or Experimental Psychology, 1971,88, 367–371. (a)CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Hinrichs.J. V., &Craft, J. L. Stimulus and response factors in discrete choice reaction time.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1971,91, 305–309. (b)CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Hinrichs, J. V., &Krainz, P L. Expectancy in choice reaction time: Anticipation of stimulus or response?Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1970,85, 330–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Kirsner, K. Naming latency facilitation: An analysis of the encoding component in recognition reaction time.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1972,95, 171–176.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Klatzky, R. L., &Smith, E. E. Stimulus expectancy and retrieval from short-term memory.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1972,94, 101–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. LaBerge, D., &Samuels, S. J. Toward a theory of automatic information processing in reading.Cognitive Psychology, 1974,6, 293–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Miller, J. O., &Pachella, R. G. Locus of the stimulus probability effect.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1973,101, 227–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Posner, M. I., &Boies S. J. Components of attention.Psychological Review, 1971,78, 391–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Posner, M. I., &Klein, R. On the functions of consciousness. In S. Kornblum (Ed.),Attention and performance IV. New York: Academic Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  12. Seamon, J. G. Generative processes in character classification: II. A refined testing procedure.Bulletin of the Psychonomic Society, 1976,7, 327–330.Google Scholar
  13. Seamon, J. G., &Wright.C. E. Generative processes in character classification: Evidence for a probe encoding set.Memory & Cognition, 1976,4, 96–102.Google Scholar
  14. Shiffrin, R. M., &Schneider, W. An expectancy model for memory search.Memory & Cognition, 1974,2, 616–628.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Sternberg, S. Two operations in character recognition: Some evidence from reaction-time measurements.Perception & Psychophysics, 1967,2, 45–53.Google Scholar
  16. Sternberg, S. Memory-scanning: Mental processes revealed by reaction-time experiments.American Scientist, 1969,57, 421–457.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • John G. Seamon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWesleyan UniversityMiddletown

Personalised recommendations