Article

Picture bizarreness effect and word association

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Abstract

The experiment reported here was designed to explore the bizarreness effect in implicit and explicit memory with simple line drawings of common objects (normal vs. bizarre), with each drawing presented alone under mixed-list encoding conditions. Three different conceptual memory tests were used: free recall, cued recall and word association. The results showed that (1) priming effects on the word association were obtained with normal and bizarre pictures; (2) the advantage of bizarre pictures over normal pictures was observed in explicit memory (free recall and cued recall) but disappeared when the word association test was used. These dissociative results have important theoretical implications for our comprehension of memory processes.

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... More specifically, the bizarreness effect is usually observed with free recall (Einstein & McDaniel, 1987;McDaniel & Einstein, 1986;Nicolas & Worthen, 2009), but not with implicit memory tests (Nicolas & Marchal, 1998). Cued recall tests generally do not give rise to the bizarreness effect except in certain studies in which parts of the target stimuli (Iaccino, Dvorak & Coler, 1989) or associates (Nicolas & Marchal, 1996, 1998 were used as cues. Zechmeister (1972) was one of the first researchers to demonstrate that words that are orthographically distinctive (OD) are better remembered than orthographically common (OC) words. ...
... As a possible explanation for these disparities, we suggest that a fundamental difference exist between the distinctive nature of bizarre items and of OD words. At least when bizarreness is operationalized by modifying an image, the item represents an object that does not exists as such in memory (a virtual object), but shares numerous characteristics with a real object (Marchal & Nicolas, 2000;Nicolas & Marchal, 1996, 1998Nicolas & Worthen, 2009). In the case of words' distinctiveness, OD words are real even if they are in a minority with regard to stored knowledge in memory. ...
... We also replicated previous findings with younger adults, in accordance with the literature, OD words were better recalled than OC words (Geraci & Rajaram, 2002;Hunt & Elliott, 1980;Hunt & Toth, 1990;Kirchhoff et al., 2005) and bizarre images were better recalled than common images in both the real image and mental imagery conditions. These replications suggest that our material was correctly constructed (Michelon, Snyder, Buckner, McAvoy & Zacks, 2003;Nicolas & Marchal, 1996, 1998Nicolas & Worthen, 2009). Hunt (2006) defines distinctiveness as processing differences in the context of similarity. ...
Article
The secondary distinctiveness effect means that items that are unusual compared to one's general knowledge stored in permanent memory are remembered better than common items. This research studied two forms of secondary-distinctiveness-based effects in conjunction: the bizarreness effect and the orthographic distinctiveness (OD) effect. More specifically, an experiment investigated in young adults a possible additive effect of bizarreness and OD effects in free recall performance. Results revealed that in young adults these two secondary-distinctiveness-based effects appear to be largely independent and can complement each other to enhance performance. Findings are discussed in light of current distinctiveness theory.
... Previous studies have established that semantically incongruous sentences (e.g., "The soldier licked the kittens") are better recalled than ordinary sentences (e.g., "The man read a book") ( Cornoldi et al., 1988;Hirshman et al., 1989;McDaniel and Einstein, 1986;Nicolas and Marchal, 1996;Riefer and LaMay, 1998;Worthen and Marshall, 1996). Incongruity in these studies typically is induced by violating semantic consistency, for example, by attributing human actions to animals and artifacts or vice versa. ...
... First, a robust bizarreness effect was obtained using recognition, as opposed to recall. This outcome appears to be somewhat atypical (e.g., Cornoldi et al., 1988;Hirshman et al., 1989;McDaniel and Einstein, 1986;Nicolas and Marchal, 1996;Riefer and LaMay, 1998;Worthen and Marshall, 1996) but not unprecedented ( Engelkamp et al., 1993). The long (2-week) interval between the study and test phases may also have contributed to the sensitivity of the present measure. ...
Article
Incongruous information is better remembered than ordinary information. This result has been attributed both to semantic incongruity and surprise. To determine the contribution of each factor, we performed a functional magnetic resonance imaging study in which participants viewed pictures depicting ordinary and incongruous objects (e.g., head of a wrench fused onto a sheep body). To maximize surprise we administered novel incongruent pictures infrequently in an initial scan. (This scan also included infrequent color-inverted pictures as a control for frequency.) To obtain a pure measure of the effect of incongruity we conducted a second scan in which participants viewed equal numbers of ordinary and incongruous pictures. Signal increases were greater for incongruous versus ordinary and oddball stimuli throughout the ventral and dorsal visual pathways, and in prefrontal cortex bilaterally. Signal decreases were larger for incongruous than for ordinary stimuli bilaterally in lateral parietal regions. A subset of regions near the right frontal operculum and extending laterally responded only to, or more strongly to, infrequent incongruous pictures. A second, purely behavioral, experiment involving a separate group of participants demonstrated that incongruous pictures were better recognized than ordinary pictures. We interpret our results as suggesting that, although correlates of a surprise response can be observed, better memory for incongruous visual information is attributable mainly to more processing and, consequently, better encoding.
Chapter
Research investigating the relationship between bizarreness and memory began as an attempt to determine the effectiveness of bizarre mental imagery as a mnemonic device. Although some researchers still investigate the mnemonic effectiveness of bizarre imagery, a new wave of research has begun to address the topic of bizarreness more generally. This chapter explores the major theoretical accounts that explain the basic findings related to the influence of bizarreness on memory. The limitations of existing explanations are discussed and a comprehensive explanation of both the facilitative effects and disruptive effects of bizarreness is offered. Throughout this chapter, the term "bizarreness" is used to refer to an extreme form of distinctiveness whereby the stimulus is in the proportional minority relative to all previously stored knowledge. It argues that, as an extreme form of distinctiveness, bizarreness induces an exaggerated form of item-specific processing at the expense of intraitem-relational processing.
Article
The aim of the present study was 2-fold. First, two experiments were devised to further investigate secondary distinctiveness-based effects in relation to aging. By using a repeated study-test procedure, it aimed at restoring the bizarreness effect (Experiment 1) or at amplifying the orthographic distinctiveness (OD) effect in older adults (Experiment 2). Second, by including Alzheimer's disease patients (AD patients) in both experiments, it also aimed at instigating research on secondary distinctiveness-based effects in relation to Alzheimer disease. The results of Experiment 1 revealed that a repeated study-test procedure may to some extent facilitate the free recalling of bizarre images in older adults. However, the benefit of such procedure does not seem to be durable in older adults (no bizarreness effect for the last study-test cycle) and is inefficient in AD patients. Surprisingly, for both older adults and AD patients, results of Experiment 2 revealed a similar OD effect across all study-test cycles. The findings of both experiments were related to previous work suggesting that the bizarreness effect and the OD effect are mediated by different processing. © 2015 Scandinavian Psychological Associations and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Article
Une expérience a examiné le souvenir de dessins bizarres et communs en rappel libre. Les dessins bizarres ont été réalisés soit en supprimant (dessins SB), soit en ajoutant certains traits de surface (dessins AB). Un effet classique de bizarrerie a été obtenu seulement pour les dessins AB. En effet, aucun effet de facilitation n’a été obtenu quand des dessins fragmentés incomplets ont été utilisés. Les résultats ont été discutés à la lumière des théories intéressées par l’explication de l’effet de bizarrerie en mémoire.
Article
We tested the hypothesis that common stimuli are stored in memory better than bizarre stimuli are. Subjects memorized a series of noun pairs embedded within 20 common or bizarre sentences. By using a between-list design, free and cued recall, and intentional-learning instructions, we were able to obtain a commonness effect (i.e., a recall advantage for the common sentences). Riefer and Rouder’s (1992) multinomial processing-tree model for measuring storage and retrieval was applied to the data, which revealed that the recall advantage for common sentences was due to storage and not retrieval processes. We propose a two-factor theory: that common items are stored better in memory, but that bizarre items are retrieved better from memory. This storage-retrieval explanation does a good job of accounting for a number of findings associated with the bizarreness effect.
Article
Differences related to ageing were investigated in two cases of secondary-distinctiveness-based effects: the bizarreness effect and the orthographic distinctiveness effect. A secondary distinctiveness effect means that items that are unusual compared to one's general knowledge stored in permanent memory are better remembered than common items. Experiment 1 confirmed that ageing diminishes the facilitative effects of bizarreness in a mixed list design with equal numbers of bizarre and common images. We suggest that the impaired bizarreness effect in older adults (above age 70) may be due to reduced attentional resources, since no bizarreness effect was observed for younger adults in the divided attention condition. Experiment 2 studied the orthographic distinctiveness effect in ageing for the first time. Contrary to our expectations, an orthographic distinctiveness effect was observed for all participants including older adults and younger adults in a divided attention condition. Because reduced attentional resources due to normal ageing or to experimental manipulation did not impact the facilitative effects of orthographic distinctiveness, our findings suggest that the orthographic distinctiveness effect may be mediated by more automatic processing.
Article
Gounden, Y. & Nicolas, S. (2012). The impact of processing time on the bizarreness and orthographic distinctiveness effects. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53, 287–294. The bizarreness effect and the orthographic distinctiveness effect (OD effect) are typical cases of secondary-distinctiveness-based effects. This study tested the simple attentional account or processing time hypothesis as a possible explanation of the bizarreness effect and the OD effect. In the bizarreness effect literature, this hypothesis gained support by some studies but was also discredited by other research. In light of these conflicting results, Experiment 1 was devised to test the processing time hypothesis in the bizarreness effect by using black-and-white concrete images and manipulating the time allotted for processing the stimuli (500 ms, 1000 ms, 3000 ms). Concerning the OD effect, no research has directly investigated the impact of processing time by examining the effect under varying amounts of study time. Experiment 2 was thus devised to investigate this same hypothesis in the OD effect and time allotted for processing the stimuli was manipulated (250 ms, 500 ms, 1000 ms, 3000 ms). Results did not support the processing time hypothesis since the magnitude of the bizarreness effect and of the OD effect was not modulated by the amount of time allotted for processing the stimuli. We refer to alternative explanations to account for these two secondary-distinctiveness-based effects.
Article
Two experiments examined age-related differences in memory for bizarre and common pictures. In Experiment 1, a facilitative effect of bizarreness was obtained for young adults and one of the older groups, but not for the oldest group (over age 70). However, the bizarreness effect was found for even the oldest group when predominantly common lists were used in Experiment 2. It is concluded that older adults suffer from deficits in distinctive processing, but those deficits can be reduced by providing a more uniformly common context in which differences can be processed.
Article
The experiments reported here were designed to explore the bizarreness effect in implicit and explicit memory by using simple line drawings of common objects (normal vs. bizarre). Each drawing was presented alone under mixed-list encoding conditions. Results showed that performance on explicit conceptual memory tests (cued recall in Experiments 1 and 2) was higher when material was studied in a bizarre format. No such effect was found with implicit conceptual tests (free association in Experiment 1 and category association in Experiment 2). Experiment 3 showed no effect of bizarreness with word-fragments as perceptual implicit or explicit test cues. These dissociative results have important theoretical implications for the comprehension of memory processes.
Article
We examined recognition memory for relational and contextual details of bizarre and common acts that were either self-performed or performed by another. The results support previous findings that bizarreness disrupts memory for relational details and provide evidence that bizarreness also disrupts memory of the general context in which objects of actions occurred. The disruptive effects of bizarreness were found in memory for both self-performed and other-performed acts. Although parts of bizarre events are remembered well, information about the context in which the remembered part occurs and relationships among remembered parts are not remembered well.
Article
Previous experiments have suggested that, contrary to traditional recommendations, bizarre images are no better than commonplace images as aids to recall. This study, however, indicates that, when other variables are controlled, bizarreness has a strong effect on both immediate and delayed unexpected recall of sentences, whether bizarreness is judged by the experimenter or by each individual subject. Results are discussed in terms of motivation and interference.
Article
Existing literature on bizarreness effects in verbal learning mainly focuses on the common assumption that bizarre images are easier to recall than common ones. In so doing, however, researchers have obtained more negative than positive results. Further, among the few investigations that found this effect three used the same procedure and the same material in which a bizarre relationship between subject and object was achieved by substituting human beings for animals and vice versa. It was observed that a clear bizarreness effect may still be observed if inanimate sentences are constructed in accordance with the same principle of distorting typical relations (Expt 1). This effect remains, albeit in a milder form, when aspects of the original procedure are manipulated, such as eliminating complementary sentences (Expt 2) or abstract sentences (Expt 3) from the lists. This seems to demonstrate that the traditional opinion that bizarre images make the mnemonic task easier is, at least in part, true. Nevertheless, if one uses the procedure used by Merry & Graham (1978) and others with semantically unpredictable sentences, the bizarreness effect was attenuated and even normal sentences sometimes achieved higher scores (Expt 4). In general, these results reveal that bizarre sentences are more likely to result in better recall as regards number of nouns remembered, whereas the opposite is true as regards number of complete sentences remembered. This is consistent with the view that recall of normal sentences is facilitated by the unitization. These four experiments carried out with adult subjects demonstrate the generality of the bizarreness effect and some of the factors which contribute to it.
Article
Reports a positive replication of an investigation by K. A. Wollen et al (see record 1973-03760-001) demonstrating that interactiveness appears to be more important than bizarreness in imaginal mnemonic learning. Data from 100 undergraduates were employed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
30 male and 30 female kindergarten children performed a paired-associate memory task in which the pairs were elaborated by either a normal interaction (e.g., The horse eats the apple) or a bizarre interaction (e.g., The horse peels the apple) to test the assumption that bizarreness is a necessary factor in a mnemonic system. Normal elaboration resulted in significantly better performance than did bizarre elaboration in a recall task, but no differences between the 2 conditions were obtained in a recognition task. In both tasks, the 2 conditions aided memory better than a nonelaborated control condition. These differences are related to the distinction between episodic and semantic memory. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Determined whether the complexity level and type of common and bizarre visual mediators generated for paired associate items were functionally related to performance on a recall task given 1 wk later. Results obtained from 84 undergraduates indicate that while bizarre imagery yielded higher complexity scores and was associated with greater response recall, there was no difference between correctly and incorrectly recalled responses in terms of mediator complexity. The previously reported finding (P. H. Marshall et al; see record 1980-31771-001) of greater variety in mediator formation for bizarre mediators was replicated. Differential effects of complexity of verbal and visual mediators are discussed. (8 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Conducted 2 experiments in which 444 undergraduates used visual images to help them remember lists of words. Both experiments yielded the typical results with immediate free recall: In mixed lists, words in bizarre contexts are remembered better than those in common contexts, but no such advantage exists for pure lists. In Exp 1, memory was also tested after 48 hrs and no evidence was found to suggest that the advantage for bizarre contexts continued to increase during this longer retention interval, or that it is even present for groups tested only after this delay. That is, the bizarre context effect (BCE) appears to be limited to brief retention intervals. In Exp 2, words presented with pictures were found to be remembered better than those presented with sentences, but there was no interaction of this picture advantage with the BCE. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)