In the present study, we explored how item repetition affects source memory for new item-feature associations (picture-location or picture-color). We presented line drawings varying numbers of times in Phase 1. In Phase 2, each drawing was presented once with a critical new feature. In Phase 3, we tested memory for the new source feature of each item from Phase 2. Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrated and replicated the negative effects of item repetition on incidental source memory. Prior item repetition also had a negative effect on source memory when different source dimensions were used in Phases 1 and 2 (Experiment 3) and when participants were explicitly instructed to learn source information in Phase 2 (Experiments 4 and 5). Importantly, when the order between Phases 1 and 2 was reversed, such that item repetition occurred after the encoding of critical item-source combinations, item repetition no longer affected source memory (Experiment 6). Overall, our findings did not support predictions based on item predifferentiation, within-dimension source interference, or general interference from multiple traces of an item. Rather, the findings were consistent with the idea that prior item repetition reduces attention to subsequent presentations of the item, decreasing the likelihood that critical item-source associations will be encoded.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)