Determining how two members of a family are related ordinarily requires a deductive process that operates on information drawn from memory. We investigate this process in two experiments in which subjects must decide on the truth of sentences involving familial relations. In Experiment 1 the sentences referred to families known to the subjects through their own experience, while in Experiment 2 the sentences were about hypothetical families that were learned in the laboratory. In both cases, the time required for subjects' decisions suggests that memory for families is organized in terms of parent-child relations, together with knowledge of which members belong to the same generation. In addition, we obtained "fanning" effects, similar to those obtained in experiments on sentence memory.
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