Beneficial effects of selective item repetition on the recall of other items
This study aimed at providing more direct evidence for this proposal by examining the influence of mental reinstatement of study context for the effects of selective retrieval. In addition, it was examined whether the induced beneficial effect generalizes from selective retrieval to selective restudy, and varies with retrieval difficulty, thus providing evidence on whether format of selective item repetition can influence context reactivation processes. In four experiments, prolonged retention intervals between study and selective item repetition were employed to impair study context access. Two main results emerged. First, mental reinstatement of the study context can eliminate, and even reverse, the beneficial effect of selective retrieval. Second, the size of the beneficial effect varies with repetition format, and is larger after selective retrieval than selective restudy, and larger when selective retrieval is demanding. These findings strengthen the view that context reactivation processes mediate the beneficial effects of selective item repetition. In particular, they indicate that the degree of repetition-induced context reactivation can vary with repetition format.