Psychological Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Combining two separate series into a single ordering: Testing the local and global distinctiveness theories with absolute and relative judgments

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This study examined the differential effects of an absolute versus a relative judgment task on the retrieval of the border-position items after the combining of two separate serial lists. Under the absolute judgment condition (Experiment 1), the border-position items showed a local distinctiveness effect (faster judgment on these items than on the neighboring items), consistent with the prediction of the local distinctiveness theory of order memory, but not under the relative judgment condition (Experiment 2). The absence of the local distinctiveness effect under the relative judgment condition was consistent with the prediction of the global distinctiveness theory that a midseries item cannot be remembered better than its neighbors. The causes of the differential effects of the two judgment tasks were discussed.


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Consciousness and cognition