The Distinctiveness Effect in Explicit and Implicit Memory

Lisa Geraci and Suparna Rajaram

in Distinctiveness and Memory

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169669
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847563 | DOI:
The Distinctiveness Effect in Explicit and Implicit Memory

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Much research supports the intuitive belief that people have very good memory for unusual or distinct information. This phenomenon is known as the distinctiveness effect. The majority of this research comes from studies using explicit memory tests on which people make a deliberate effort to remember past events. However, there is very little research examining the distinctiveness effect using different probes of memory, known as implicit tests. On implicit memory tests, people do not intend to remember, but nonetheless memory shows its effects behaviorally. This chapter examines the role of awareness in mediating superior memory for unusual information. It reviews a select group of studies in which distinctiveness effects have been examined using explicit and implicit memory measures. It begins by describing the distinction between explicit and implicit memory tests. It then describes studies that demonstrate the effects of distinctiveness in explicit memory, as well as studies that show that distinctiveness is closely related to the vivid and recollective component of explicit memory.

Keywords: distinctiveness effects; explicit memory; implicit memory; memory tests; awareness; past events

Chapter.  10256 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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