The long-term recency effect in recognition memory

Deborah Talmi*, Yonatan Goshen-Gottstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Three classes of theories explain the recency effect: the modal model, single-store models, and the composite view, which integrates the two positions. None could explain the absence of a long-term recency effect in recognition memory in previous studies. We suggest that prior work did not obtain a recency effect because testing used a multiple-probe rather than a single-probe recognition procedure. Here we tested memory using a single-probe recognition procedure. Experimental conditions included an immediate test, a delayed test after a filled interval, and a continuous-distractor paradigm in which the same filled delay preceded the first word and followed every study word. The long-term recency effect in continuous-distractor recognition was equivalent to the recency effect in immediate recognition. Its absence in the delayed recognition condition demonstrated that it was not attributed to the use of a putative short-term memory store. Single-store models and the composite view can account for this novel finding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-436
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2006


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