Context-Dependent Recognition Is Related to Specific Processes Taking Place at Encoding and at Retrieval

T. Silberg, E. Vakil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context Effect (CE) refers to the facilitation of memory for target information due to the similarity of contextual information available during both learning and retrieval. Many studies have attempted to identify variables that influence this effect, producing inconsistent findings due to differences in how target and context information are defined and measured. In the current study, recognition memory for faces was tested under different learning instructions and diverse context-recognition conditions. When memory instructions were used, recognition rates proved higher for the original target-context pairs than for all other possible target-context conditions. A different CE profile was observed for attentional instructions while old, yet not necessarily original, target-context faces yielded better results than other context conditions. These findings indicate that memory instructions lead to CE based on the formation of a specific association between target and context information, while instructions focusing on attentional resources lead to CE based on familiarity judgments. The double dissociation reported here is that memory instructions yield binding as opposed to familiarity type of CE, while attention instructions yield familiarity and not binding type of CE, supporting the claim that CE is not homogeneous and involves a number of cognitive processes
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)335-349
Number of pages15
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


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