[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT:
Many models of memory assume that the probability of remembering an item is related to how distinctive that item is relative to all the other items in the set, with no distinction made between the contributions of near or far items. These "global" distinctiveness models do well in accounting for the ubiquitous serial position effects observed in numerous memory paradigms, including absolute identification. Here, we provide experimental confirmation of Bower's (1971) suggestion that, contrary to a fundamental prediction of global distinctiveness models, mid-series items can be more discriminable than their immediate neighbours. We show that such data are consistent with a revised distinctiveness account in which the factor affecting discrimination performance is primarily the distinctiveness of an item relative to its close neighbours.