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Postman, L., Burns, S., & Hasher, L. (1970). Response availability and associative recall. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 84, 404-411.


The influence of response retraining on associative recall was investigated. All Ss learned a list of paired associates (PAs) and were tested for recall of the pairs after 48 hr. There were six conditions of response retraining immediately prior to the test of PA recall: (a) none, (b) free recall of the responses without additional study, (c) four reexposures of the set of responses without tests, (d) four reexposures followed by a single test of free recall, (e) four cycles of free recall learning, and (f) four cycles of serial recall learning. The conditions of retraining had substantial effects on the level of response availability, but failed to have a significant influence on subsequent PA recall. An item analysis showed a Condition of Retraining X Degree of Original Learning interaction. The recall of weak items is likely to be enhanced by reexposure to the responses, whereas response relearning produces either no effect or a net loss for strong items. It is concluded that the retaining task is a source of both facilitation and interference.

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