Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

William Hockley

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


This study investigated whether recognition memory requires two retrieval processes (i.e., familiarity and recognition) as stated by the Dual process theory or requires one retrieval process (i.e., familiarity) as stated by the Single process theory. The first experiment investigated the effects of A-B, A-C, A-D-, A-E interference on both word and picture pair recognition. As expected, it was found that a picture superiority effect was present in the baseline condition, but was reduced in the interference condition. Moreover, in the baseline condition, a non-mirror pattern (i.e., hits higher for picture pairs, but false alarm rates were the same) was present indicating picture pairs were encoding better than word pairs, however recall to reject strategy was the same. Furthermore, for both types of stimuli, false alarm rates and estimates of familiarity-based hit rates increased in the interference condition. The second experiment investigated the effects of interference on false alarm rates occurred not due to the fan effect, but due to the familiarity of items in the overlapping pairs. Familiarity increased hit rates but did not affect false alarm rates for word pairs. Interestingly, familiarity had an effect on false alarm rates for picture pairs. In Experiment 3, a more extreme manipulation of item familiarity was used in Experiment 3 provided more conclusive findings than Experiment 2 supporting the theory that the effects of interference on hit rates and false alarm rates were in accordance with Kelley and Wixted’s (2001) “some-or-none” model. Experiment 4 was similar in design and procedure as Experiment 1, however the two conditions were general and specific sentence conditions. The general sentence condtiion contained a general noun and specific location (i.e. the furniture is in the jungle). And the specific sentence condition contained a specific subject noun which was an instantiation of teh general subject noun (i.e., the desk is in the jungle). Supporting the Dual process theory and similar to Experiment 1, there was a non-mirror pattern present in baseline condition. There were significantly higher hit rates present in the specific sentence condition than the general sentence condition. However, false alarm rates were the same for both sentence conditions. In addition, similar to Experiment 1, estimates of familiarity significantly increased in the interference condition for both types of stimuli. Overall, the results provide strong support for the theory that item familiarity eliminated the advantage in recognition performance for distinctive stimuli in associative recognition.

Convocation Year