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Hasher, L., & Griffin, M. (1978). Reconstructive and reproductive processes in forgetting. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 4, 318-330.


Current views of prose memory argue that memory inaccuracies in the retelling of a complex event occur in part as the result of a storage deficit induced by the abstractive and assimilative aspects of prose processing. This view appears to contradict a large portion of the memory literature that shows, over long intervals, remarkably accurate recall. A perspective, based on an elaboration of Underwood's attributes model of memory, is advanced which proposes that for all types of information both detailed and thematic attributes are stored. Consequently, the type of recall one sees, whether reconstructive or reproductive in nature, depends in part upon events that occur at the time of the request for recall. Two experiments using prose passages as stimulus materials with retention tested by free recall support this perspective. Subjects were treated identically until the test of recall, when two sets of procedures were introduced, one that led subjects to reconstruct the story and one that led subjects to reproduce the story.

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