Advertisement

Memory & Cognition

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 342–353 | Cite as

Environmental context and human memory

  • Steven M. Smith
  • Arthur Glenberg
  • Robert A. Bjork
Article

Abstract

Five experiments examined the effects of environmental context on recall and recognition. In Experiment 1, variability of input environments produced higher free recall performance than unchanged input environments. Experiment 2 showed improvements in cued recall when storage and test contexts matched, using a paradigm that unconfounded the variables of context mismatching and context change. In Experiment 3, recall of categories and recall of words within a category were better for same-context than different-context recall. In Experiment 4, subjects given identical input conditions showed strong effects of environmental context when given a free recall test, yet showed no main effects of context on a recognition test. The absence of an environmental context effect on recognition was replicated in Experiment 5, using a cued recognition task to control the semantic encodings of test words. In the discussion of these experiments, environmental context is compared with other types of context, and an attempt is made to identify the memory processes influenced by environmental context.

Keywords

Recognition Memory Free Recall False Alarm Rate Recognition Test Environmental Context 
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.

References

  1. Abernethy, E. M. The effect of changed environmental conditions upon the results ot college examinations.Journal of Psychology, 1940,10, 293–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anderson, J. R., &Bower, G. H. A propositional theory of recognition memory.Memory & Cognition, 1974,2, 406–412.Google Scholar
  3. Bilodeau, I. M., &Schlosberg, H. Similarity in stimulating conditions as a variable in retroactive inhibition.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1951,41, 199–204.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bower, G. H. Stimulus-sampling theory of encoding vartability. In A. W. Melton & E. Martin (Eds.),Coding processes in human memory. Washington, D.C: Winston, 1972.Google Scholar
  5. Burri, C. The influence of an audience upon recall.Journal ol Educational Psychology, 1931,22, 683–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carr. H. A. Maze studies with the white rat: I. Normal animals.Journal of Animal Behavior, 1917, 259–275.Google Scholar
  7. Carr, H. A.Psychology A study of mental activity. New York: Longmans Green, 1925.Google Scholar
  8. Cohen, B. H. Some-or-none characteristics of coding behavior.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1966,5, 182–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cramer, P. A study of homographs. In L. Postman & G. Keppel (Eds.),Norms of word association. New York: Academic Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  10. Dulsky, S. G. The effect of a change of background on recall and relearning.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1935,18, 725–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eich, J. E., Weingartner, H., Stillman, R. C., &Gillin, J. C. State-dependent accessibility of retrieval cues in the retention of a categorized list.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1975,14, 408–417.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Epstein, W. The influence of syntactical structure on learning.American Journal of Psychology, 1961,74, 80–85.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Estes, W. K. Statistical theory of spontaneous recovery and regression.Psychological Review, 1955,62, 145–154.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Gartman, L. M., &Johnson, N. F. Massed versus distributed repetition of homographs: A test of the differential encoding hypothesis.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1972,11, 801–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Geis, M. F., &Winograd, E. Semantic encoding and judgments of background and situational frequency or homographs.Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 1975,104, 385–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Glenberg, A. M. Monotonic and nonmonotonic lag effects in paired-associate and recognition memory paradigms.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1976,15, 1–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Glenberg, A. M. Influences of retrieval processes on the spacing effect in tree recall.Journal of Experimental Psychology Human Learning and Memory, 1977,3, 282–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Godden, D. R., &Baddeley, A. D. Context-dependent memory in two natural environments: On land and under-water.British Journal of Psychology, 1975,66, 325–331.Google Scholar
  19. Green, D. M., &Swets, J. A.Signal detection theory and psychophysics. New York: Wiley, 1966.Google Scholar
  20. Greenspoon, J., &Ranyard, R. Stimulus conditions and retroactive inhibition.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1957,53, 55–59.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Kausler, D. H., &Kollasch, S. F. Word associations to homographs.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1970,9, 444–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kintsch, W. Models for tree recall and recognition. In D. A. Norman (Ed.),Models of human memory. New York: Academic Press, 1970, Pp. 303–373.Google Scholar
  23. Kučera, H., &Francis, W. N.Computational analysis present-day American English. Providence: Brown University Press, 1967.Google Scholar
  24. Light, L. L., &Carter-Sobell, L. Effects of changed semantic context on recognition memory.Journal of Verbal Learnmg and Verbal Behavior, 1970,9, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Marshall, G. R., &Cofer, C. N. Single-word free association norms for 328 responses from the Connecticut cultural norms for verbal items in categories. In L. Postman & G. Keppel (Eds.),Norms of word association. New York: Academic Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  26. Melton, A. W. The situation with respect to the spacing of repetitions and memory.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1970,9, 596–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Reder, L. M., Anderson, J. R., &Bjork, R. A. A semantic interpretation of encoding specificity.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1974,102, 648–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Reed, H. J. The influence of a change of conditions upon the amount recalled.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1931,14, 632–649.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Smith, S., &Guthrie, E. R.General psychology in terms behavior. New York: Appleton-Century, 1924.Google Scholar
  30. Strand, B. Z. Change of context and retroactive inhibition.Journal ol Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1970,9, 202–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thomson, D. M. Context effects in recognition memory.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1972,11, 497–511.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Thomson, D. M., &Tulving, E. Associative encoding and retrieval: Weak and strong cues.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1970,86, 255–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tulving, E., &Pearlstone, Z. Availability versus accessibility of information in memory for words.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 1966,5, 381–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Tulving, E., &Watkins, M. J. Continuity between recall and recognition.American Journal of Psychology, 1973,86, 739–748.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Winograd, E., &Geis, M. F. Semantic encoding and recogration memory: A test of encoding variability theory.Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1974,102, 1061–1068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven M. Smith
    • 1
  • Arthur Glenberg
    • 1
  • Robert A. Bjork
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WisconsinMadison
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaLos Angeles

Personalised recommendations