A puzzle about affect and recognition memory

Andrew Ortony*, Terence J. Turner, Stephen J. Antos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Conducted an experiment to replicate an unpredicted and puzzling asymmetry found in the data of surprise recognition tests given in several earlier, unpublished experiments. The present experiment, with 12 undergraduates, used foils that were affective transformations of presented sentences. The affectively negative foils consistently produced a significantly higher rate of correct rejections than did the positive foils. This effect occurred in the absence of a difference in hit rates between positive and negative sentences. It is argued that the results cannot be accounted for in terms of factors (such as sentence integratedness or congruence) that affect memorability. An explanation in terms of differential changes in the strength of affective responses to positive and negative sentences is proposed as a possible way of accommodating the data. (9 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-729
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1983


  • positive vs negative sentences, recognition memory, college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'A puzzle about affect and recognition memory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this