Structural similarity superiority in a free-recall reminding paradigm

AbstractIn this study, we test the possibility that real-life events induce an abstract category activation in a way that permits structurally-based retrievals. We used a free-recall reminding paradigm where participants had to report any memory that come to mind when faced with a target cue embodying a familiar concept. This method allowed us to consider the retrievals of any analog that shares a meaningful structural similarity in the participants’ own eyes. Results revealed that most participants predominantly retrieved Superficially Dissimilar Analogs (SDAs) rather than Superficially Similar Disanalogs (SSDs). Interestingly, retrievals of SDAs were preponderant over retrievals of Superficially Similar Analogs (SSAs). These data suggest that familiar abstract knowledge may have a more important role in promoting abstract encoding and structurally-based retrievals than it was supposed to.

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