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Distinctiveness and Memory$
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R. Reed Hunt and James B. Worthen

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195169669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169669.001.0001

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Distinctiveness and Memory: Comments and a Point of View

Distinctiveness and Memory: Comments and a Point of View

Chapter:
(p.424) (p.425) 19 Distinctiveness and Memory: Comments and a Point of View
Source:
Distinctiveness and Memory
Author(s):

Fergus I. M. Craik

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169669.003.0019

Reed Hunt remarked that whereas it seems intuitively obvious that distinctive events are well remembered simply because we pay more attention to them, this commonsense analysis may conceal more complex truths. This chapter weighs Hunt's remark in light of the data and arguments presented in the book, surveys the various points of view, and assesses the degree to which there is agreement on the role of distinctiveness in memory. In addition to distinctiveness, this book has analyzed isolation, inconsistency, incongruity, novelty, salience, bizarreness, and significance, among others. Primary distinctiveness includes isolation effects (also known as the von Restorff effect)—in general, situations in which expectancy for the next event is violated. Secondary distinctiveness includes cases in which the event is incongruent relative to a person's general knowledge or beliefs about that class of events. A significant event will attract attention, reflection, and elaborate processing regardless of whether it is anomalous in the local context, and regardless of whether it was expected.

Keywords:   distinctiveness, memory, isolation, inconsistency, incongruity, novelty, bizarreness, isolation effects, attention, salience

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