Intrusions and the Decision to Terminate Memory Search


Little is known about the how the decision is made to terminate memory search, though there have been several recent attempts to uncover this process. In one recent study, Miller et al. (2012), re-analyzed data from a large number of free-recall experiments and identified intrusions as a factor that influenced search termination decisions. One potential problem with this re-analysis is that all the data were drawn from experiments in which it was impossible to determine if or when search was terminated. Using data from experiments in which search termination decisions were directly measured, we confirmed Miller at al.'s (2012) original findings but also demonstrated that intrusions influence the time taken to generate the final retrieval and the time between the final retrieval and search termination. The pattern of data is consistent with a simple, sample-with-replacement model in which intrusions are less active than items from the target list.

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