Further evidence that similar principles govern recall from episodic and semantic memory: The Canadian prime ministerial serial position function.
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The serial position function, with its characteristic primacy and recency effects, is one of the most ubiquitous findings in episodic memory tasks. In contrast, there are only two demonstrations of such functions in tasks thought to tap semantic memory. Here, we provide a third demonstration, showing that free recall of the prime ministers of Canada also results in a serial position function. Scale Independent Memory, Perception, and Learning (SIMPLE), a local distinctiveness model of memory that was designed to account for serial position effects in episodic memory, fit the data. According to SIMPLE, serial position functions observed in episodic and semantic memory all reflect the relative distinctiveness principle: items will be well remembered to the extent that they are more distinct than competing items at the time of retrieval. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved).
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