Chapter

Resolution of Discrepant Memory Strengths: An Explanation of the Effects of Bizarreness on Memory

James B. Worthen

in Distinctiveness and Memory

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169669
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847563 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169669.003.0007
Resolution of Discrepant Memory Strengths: An Explanation of the Effects of Bizarreness on Memory

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Research investigating the relationship between bizarreness and memory began as an attempt to determine the effectiveness of bizarre mental imagery as a mnemonic device. Although some researchers still investigate the mnemonic effectiveness of bizarre imagery, a new wave of research has begun to address the topic of bizarreness more generally. This chapter explores the major theoretical accounts that explain the basic findings related to the influence of bizarreness on memory. The limitations of existing explanations are discussed and a comprehensive explanation of both the facilitative effects and disruptive effects of bizarreness is offered. Throughout this chapter, the term “bizarreness” is used to refer to an extreme form of distinctiveness whereby the stimulus is in the proportional minority relative to all previously stored knowledge. It argues that, as an extreme form of distinctiveness, bizarreness induces an exaggerated form of item-specific processing at the expense of intraitem-relational processing.

Keywords: bizarreness; memory; distinctiveness; facilitative effects; disruptive effects; item-specific processing; intraitem-relational processing; mnemonic

Chapter.  10503 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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