Genealogy and memory

Lance J. Rips*, Margaret E. Stubbs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-721
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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