Effects of semantic judgements and pair comparisons upon list differentiation

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Virginia Tech


The present study investigated the effects of semantic and nonsemantic analyses of words on list differentiation (LD). It was suggested that the memory of when stimulus events occurred might be due to the storage of information about judgments made about words and that this information may be differentially available to subjects as a function of the number of prototypes, or instances of an orienting task's criterion. In the first experiment, subjects judged two lists of word pairs on semantic or nonsemantic criteria. The results indicated that information about these judgments about words was stored with semantic task subjects and to a lesser with nonsemantic task subjects. In the second experiment, the effects of word-pair comparisons and single word ratings on a semantic criterion were examined. It was observed that single words were later assigned correctly to lists more often than word-pairs, although information appeared to be stored with the word-pairs as well. It was also found that information about judgments about words is stored with these words regardless of their subjective relatedness to the orienting task's criterion. The results of both experiments were interpreted in terms of Anderson and Bower's (1972) which suggests that information about the context in which a stimulus is presented may become associated to that stimulus.