The curious case of orthographic distinctiveness: Disruption of categorical processing.
One of the foundational principles of human memory is that repetition (i.e., being presented with a stimulus multiple times) improves recall. In the current study a group of participants who studied a list of cue-target pairs twice recalled fewer targets than a group who studied the pairs only once, a negative repetition effect. Such a demonstration is novel yet theoretically motivated. Though participants in each condition studied the same set of cue-target pairs, those who studied the pairs twice were initially presented with the pairs in a way that hindered organizational processing. Even after a 2nd presentation when the pairs were presented in a manner that should facilitate organizational processing (the same presentation given to participants who received the list only once), participants did not capitalize on the structure and consequently recalled fewer targets. The results offer compelling support for the item-specific-relational account.