What makes a person, event, or object memorable? Enhanced memory for oddball items is long established, but the basis for these effects is not well understood. The present work clarifies the roles of isolation and differentiation in establishing new memories. According to the isolation account, items that are highly dissimilar to other items are better remembered. In contrast, recent category learning studies suggest that oddball items are better remembered because they must be differentiated from similar items. The present work pits the differentiation and isolation accounts against each other. The results suggest that differentiation, not isolation, leads to more accurate memory for deviant items. In contrast, gains for isolated items are attributable to reduced confusion with other items, as opposed to preferential storage.
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This work was supported by AFOSR Grant FA9550-04-1-0226 and NSF CAREER Grant 0349101 to B.C.L.
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Sakamoto, Y., Love, B.C. Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Austin: Enhanced oddball memory through differentiation, not isolation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 13, 474–479 (2006). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193872
- Category Learning
- Corrective Feedback
- Exemplar Model
- Differentiation Account
- Novelty Effect