Using maintenance rehearsal to explore recognition memory.
We examined associative and item recognition using the maintenance rehearsal paradigm. Our intent was to control for mnemonic strategies; to produce a low, graded level of learning; and to provide evidence of the role of attention in long-term memory. An advantage for low-frequency words emerged in both associative and item recognition at very low levels of learning. This early emergence casts doubt on explanations based on the traditional concept of recollection. A comparison of false alarms supports a role for item information or the joint use of cues but not familiarity in producing associative false alarms. We may also have found a way to measure the amount of attention being paid to a to-be-learned item or pair, independently of memory performance on the attended item. This result may be an important step in determining whether coherent theories about the role of attention in long- and short-term memory can be created. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved).