Effects of dividing attention on the memory-bock effect

Sachiko Kinoshita*, Karren Towgood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


S. M. Smith and D. R. Tindell (1997) reported that prior study of words that are orthographically similar to the solutions of test word fragments (e.g., studying ANALOGY and completing the fragment A_L_ _GY, whose solution is ALLERGY) reduced the fragment completion rate relative to a baseline condition in which unrelated words were studied. They called this effect the memory-block effect. In the present experiment, the authors replicated this effect using a larger set of materials than that used by S. M. Smith and D. R. Tindell. The authors also found that dividing attention at study eliminated the memory-block effect. This pattern mimicked the effect of dividing attention on recognition memory but differed from the effect on repetition priming effects. The authors suggest that the memory-block effect is driven by a mechanism different from that responsible for producing repetition priming effects in an implicit fragment completion test.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-895
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2001

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