Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Amy H. Criss


episodic memory, memory, output interference, recognition, recognition memory, testing effects

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


Output interference and testing effects are two common occurrences in episodic memory data. Output interference is the finding that as a recognition memory test increases in length, performance tends to decrease. This suggests that continued testing is detrimental to recognition memory. Testing effects are the general finding that repeatedly taking a test contributes to better long-term retention than repeated studying (re-reading) of the same material. This implies that practicing taking a test is beneficial to the retention and future retrieval of that information. However, there are no studies that examine both output interference and testing effects. The current study sought to test recognition memory under conditions that were conducive to both output interference and testing effects. All participants studied a list of words. Participants in the study condition then studied the list again and came back for a second appointment where they completed a recognition memory test on the words. Participants in the test condition took a recognition memory test after studying the words once. They then took the test again when they came back for the second appointment. Additionally, participants were either in the repeated or non-repeated targets condition. In the repeated target condition the words were repeated across all three list. In the non-repeated target condition, the words on the final test were only shown on the initial study list and not in the intermediary study list or test. The results showed that there were no significant differences in slope (performance on the final test over test block) between the study and test conditions and the repeated and non-repeated conditions. There was also not a significant interaction. Additionally there was not a significant difference in test accuracy between the study and test conditions. However, accuracy was significantly greater in the repeated condition than the non-repeated condition and there was a significant interaction. Post-hoc t-tests showed that, within the repeated targets condition, the test condition was significantly more accurate than the study condition. There was not a significant difference in the non-repeated condition. These results suggest that repeated testing does not seem to affect output interference and seems to be beneficial when items are encountered more than once but not when they are encountered only once.


Open Access