Numerous studies have examined the extent to which adults remember both common and less common, or unusual, events. Often these studies have presented uncommon events that are “bizarre” by presenting bizarre sentences within a list format. Although research on the mnemonic effectiveness of bizarreness has produced disparate results, generally, bizarre sentences such as “The dog rode a bicycle down the street” are better recalled than more common sentences, particularly when both are presented within a mixed-list format. Although it is believed that the mnemonic advantage of bizarreness occurs in lists containing both bizarre and common sentences, recent research has provided more detailed information about the roles played by list composition and stimulus context in the bizarreness effect. This chapter examines the memory of children, younger adults, and older adults for unusual events, including bizarre events. The empirical findings of the author's research are presented first, and then possible explanations of these findings are discussed in terms of text-processing research.
Keywords: bizarre events; bizarreness; mnemonic; list composition; stimulus context; unusual events; text processing
Chapter. 8639 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Cognitive Psychology
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