Three experiments examined the effect of input sequence on memory for simple stories, After reading stories written in either chronological or flashback sequence, subjects made a decision about the underlying order of occurrence of two events. Responses were consistently faster and more accurate on chronological sequences under three conditions of testing: (1) immediately after reading, (2) after a 10-sec unfilled interval, and (3) after a 10-sec filled interval. It was also shown that decisions about input order were easier than decisions about underlying order when the stories contained flashbacks. These data indicate that subjects based their responses on a memory representation which preserved the input sequence of events. Results are interpreted as evidence against a strong schema-based approach to story memory which predicts construction of a canonically-ordered representation during processing. An additional finding was that decisions were easier when the events in the story had a logical progression rather than an arbitrary ordering, demonstrating an influence of prior knowledge. © 1978 Academic Press, Inc.
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